Frequently Asked Questions – Power-Assisted Adenoidectomy

What are adenoids?

The adenoids are a single clump of tissue that is very high in the back of your throat, behind your nose. It is believed that the adenoids help trap germs so they can’t get further into the body. Sometimes, however, the adenoids may 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.

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.

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

How precise is power-assisted adenoidectomy?

With any removal method, if too much tissue is removed, nearby tissues can be damaged and potentially cause complications. If not enough is removed, the adenoids may grow back and the infection could return.

Because the microdebrider used in a power-assisted adenoidectomy can be positioned and moved very precisely, it can give the surgeon more control and allow 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 access to the hard-to-reach adenoids.


  1. 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.

Last updated: 27 Sep 2010

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