Questions and Answers – Power-Assisted Adenoidectomy Ear Infections

What are adenoids?

The adenoids are a single clump of tissue that is very high in the back of your throat, behind your nose. Doctors believe that the adenoids help trap germs so they can’t get further into the body. But sometimes the adenoids help cause infections when the trapped germs either travel up the Eustachian tube to the middle ear or make the adenoids swell and block the Eustachian tube, causing fluid and bacteria to build up in the middle ear.

Back to top

What are the advantages of a power-assisted adenoidectomy?

A power-assisted adenoidectomy offers several advantages over other treatment techniques:

  • A power-assisted adenoidectomy is a more effective treatment for chronic ear infections.1
  • It allows more precise tissue removal with reduced risk.
  • It’s faster and there’s less blood loss.
  • The surgeon can see the anatomy better and has better access.
  • It may reduce the likelihood that your child will have another ear infection.1

Back to top

How effective is a power-assisted adenoidectomy at stopping ear infections from coming back?

A 2003 research study showed the differences between power-assisted, curette (cutting), and suction cautery (heating) adenoidectomies.1 In this study, researchers tracked 1270 children who had already had two ear ventilation tube procedures for one year. The purpose of the study was to find out how often children had to have a third set of vent tubes put in, even though they’d had an adenoidectomy. In other words, which type of adenoid surgery was more effective.

The results of the study showed that the children who had a power-assisted adenoidectomy were much less likely to need a third set of vent tubes.

  • 452 children had a power-assisted adenoidectomy, and 3.5% (16 children) needed a third set of vent tubes.
  • 75 children received a curette adenoidectomy, and 9.3% (7 children) needed a third set of vent tubes.
  • 743 children received a suction cautery adenoidectomy, and 23.3% (175 children) needed a third set of vent tubes.

Back to top

What makes a power-assisted adenoidectomy more precise?

With other methods, it can be difficult to control how much tissue is removed. If too much is removed, nearby tissues can be damaged and cause complications. If not enough is removed, the adenoids may regrow and the infection could come back.

Because the microdebrider used in a power-assisted adenoidectomy can be positioned and moved very precisely, it gives the surgeon more control and allows the removal of only the tissue required. Also, the microdebrider gives the surgeon a direct view of the adenoid tissue. Finally, the shape of the device provides better access to the hard-to-reach adenoids.

Back to top


April M, Ward R, Bent J. Power-Assisted Adenoidectomy in the Treatment of Chronic Otitis Media with Effusion. Poster Presentation at American Society of Pediatric Otolaryngology, May 4, 2003, Nashville, TN.

Information on this site should not be used as a substitute for talking with your doctor. Always talk with your doctor about diagnosis and treatment information.