Adenoids are lymphoid tissue (like tonsils) situated at the back of the nose above the palate. They are largest in young children (generally under the age of six) and then slowly regress and are usually not present in young adults. They may be removed in children to help a blocked nose, improve snoring, aid middle ear infections or hearing loss due to middle ear fluid. They are frequently combined with tonsillectomy and/ or grommets depending on the problem to be addressed and its severity.
Adenoidectomy alone (or with grommets) is a straightforward procedure performed as day stay surgery (home same day). It normally takes 15-20 minutes of surgery time and regular panadol is usually sufficient for the 2-3 days of post-operative discomfort.
Tonsils are most commonly removed in young children to help with snoring, sleep apnoea or recurrent tonsillitis. In these settings the adenoids are often removed too. In adults recurrent tonsillitis, chronic tonsillar debris and infections or to exclude cancer are the major indications. In adult snorers with large tonsils removal can make a big difference.
Tonsillectomy may be day stay or an overnight stay in hospital. Surgical time can vary from 15-45mins. Tonsillectomy is a painful procedure and patients are discharged home with strong pain killers. Pain is pronounced for the first week and then backs off dramatically in the second week although one should allocate 2 weeks for a full recovery. There is a risk of bleeding following tonsillectomy depending on patient age (younger less common) and how large, scarred and infected the tonsils are. This risk is highest 5-14 days post surgery.
Grommets are a general term for any type of ventilation tube that is placed in the ear drum to help those with eustachian tube dysfunction. Eustachian tubes connect the middle ear space (deep to the eardrum) with the back of the nose and allow ear pressures to be equalised. If dysfunctional people are prone to recurrent middle ear infections and or hearing loss. This is much more common in children than adults. Grommets are expected to fall out after 6-18 months and simply allow another means of pressure equalisation while we wait to see if growth and time allow the natural eustachian tube to mature. They are not a cure in themselves but aim to reduce infections and aid hearing while we wait. Some children and adults require multiple sets.
Insertion of grommets in children is done under general anaesthesia (patient fully asleep in hospital) and is a quick day stay procedure. It is performed down the ear canal with just a tiny cut on the eardrum. The grommets are not visible externally. The procedure is not particularly sore at all with most people and children not requiring any post surgery pain relief. In adults most grommets can be performed under local anaesthetic (eardrum numbed and patient awake) in Dr Jumeau’s rooms.
The nasal septum is the midline partition that separates the two nostrils. It needs to be straight to allow good nasal airway and strong to maintain nasal tip support. It can become deviated simply from growth but sometimes also from trauma. Straightening of the septum is called septoplasty. This can normally be done as a closed procedure (no external cuts) and is often combined with turbinoplasty. In some people the septum is severely deviated and surgery requires an open rhinoplasty approach to adequately address. Sometimes minor septoplasties are performed endoscopically (using a small surgical telescope up the nose).
Septoplasty usually takes 30-60 mins surgery time. It should not impact on the external appearance of the nose or lead to any facial bruising unless combined with a rhinoplasty. Packing is placed in the nose and slowly dissolves in the days following the surgery with the aid of nasal rinses and blowing. No sutures or packing needs to be removed in the post-surgery period. All nasal procedures carry a risk of bleeding but this is small. Pain can vary a lot following septoplasty from mild to quite strong depending on how much work needs to be done. Septoplasty can be day stay or overnight stay.
The turbinates are pads on the internal side wall of the nose that fluctuate in size over the day to regulate airflow. In many they can be vary large or irregular (especially when the septum is deviated) and reducing their size can aid the nasal airway. Dr Jumeau performs turbinoplasty endoscopically (using a small surgical telescope up the nose).
Turbinate surgery takes about 15mins and on it’s own is not particularly painful. It requires a general anaesthetic. Like all nasal procedures there is a small risk of bleeding. Nasal packing is inserted and dissolves slowly in the days following the surgery with the aid of saline rinses and blowing.
FESS (Functional Endoscopic Sinus Surgery)
This is surgery to aid in the drainage of the sinuses in those that get sinus infections. It can vary from very minor surgery addressing one or two sinuses with mild disease to a much bigger procedure in those where all sinuses are diseased, polyp disease is present, fungal infections are present or multiple previous surgeries have been performed. Sometimes Dr Jumeau uses image guidance (on operating table real time instrument imaging for exact positioning) for complex cases and some frontal sinus work. The vast majority of patients do not need further surgery if it is performed properly, however, those with significant allergies or polyp disease may get recurrent symptoms over time and sometimes these people need further work in later years.
Sinus surgery requires solid experience to be performed well, especially in complex cases. Some cases can take over 2 hours if complex but most take less than that. There is not usually much post-surgery pain with paracetamol or panadeine being sufficient although there is a very small subset of patients who have had chronic mid facial pain issues that often get very sore for a few days. Surgery may be day stay or overnight. As in all nasal surgery, there is a risk of bleeding. Some cases may also carry a very tiny risk of injury to the eye and potentially cerebro-spinal fluid leakage that needs correction. These risks are very small in experienced hands and can be managed appropriately in the rare instance they occur. Dr Jumeau will discuss these risks in the context of your required surgery. All sinus surgeries by Dr Jumeau are performed endoscopically (using a small surgical telescope for visualisation and fine endoscopic instruments which allow maximum field of view with just very limited access up the nostril and no external cuts) as is current best practice. Adequate and confident removal of all disease is not possible if not done endoscopically and is the modern day standard for sinus surgeons.