Surgical removal of adenoids on the rise among children, say doctors

BySomita Pal
Mar 13, 2023 01:30 AM IST

Doctors said Mumbai’s deteriorating AQI is one of the factors that has led to children getting repeated throat infections.

Mumbai: When three-and-a-half-year-old Veer Paleja suffered from cold and coughing bouts every month, his parents never thought it would not let him breathe through the nose, sleep properly or even affect his speech. On visiting an ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialist, Veer’s parents were startled to find out he had enlarged adenoids and their child needed surgery.

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Adenoids are a patch of tissue located at the back of the nasal cavity that plays an essential role in fighting infections in infants and young children. Generally, adenoids shrink around the age of five and gradually disappear by the teenage years.

“He was having a recurrent cold and cough. Every month, he was falling ill. Suddenly we noticed that he was breathing from his mouth, there was a snoring issue and he was not getting sound sleep. We consulted a doctor after we saw that his speech was affected,” said Vishakha Paleja, Veer’s mother.

She said Veer’s words are not clear because he is breathing from his mouth and drooling. “Doctors tried to manage it medically but the adenoids are enlarged to such an extent that he needs surgery,” said Vishakha, a resident of Nana Chowk. Veer will be operated on next week.

City doctors said they are noticing many children like Veer getting repeated sore throats leading to enlarged adenoids followed by them being surgically removed. Children as young as two and a half years are being brought to them with enlarged adenoids which are medically not manageable. ENT surgeons said because of the condition, the child is unable to breathe via the nose, sleep is disrupted, and has frequent sinus symptoms. Many children are having speech issues too as they breathe with their mouths.

“Adenoidectomy – the surgical removal of the adenoids – has become very common for children over the past year. Because of viral infections and allergies, children are prone to repeated cough and cold issues leading to enlarged adenoids. I recently operated on a three-year-old boy who had obstructive sleep apnea. He was cranky and it affected his mood,” said Veer’s doctor Dr Shashikant Mhashal, associate professor, ENT, RN Cooper Hospital, who also operates in Apollo and SL Raheja hospitals.

Mhashal said he performs 14 surgeries in a month at Cooper hospital alone and around 4 to 6 a month at his private set-up.

Doctors said Mumbai’s deteriorating AQI is one of the factors that has led to children getting repeated throat infections. Dr Ravikiran Vernekar, ENT surgeon at Dr L H Hiranandani Hospital, Powai, sees six to seven cases of enlarged adenoids a day and operates on 7 to 10 in a month.

“Adenoid is a gland situated behind the nose. Due to an increase in pollution and frequent increases in upper respiratory tract infections, the adenoid gland increases in size and obstructs breathing. It is generally seen among children between two years to ten years and causes recurrent throat infection,” said Vernekar. “The main cause for the rise is the city’s poor AQI. Hence, there has been a rise in the number of cases of adenoid surgeries.”

Dr Amol Patil, senior consultant, ENT, Nanavati Max Super Speciality Hospital said currently, they are operating on an average of five to six cases every month.

“We have observed a significant increase in the demand for endoscopic adenoid surgery, especially in the past six to seven months. There are several factors responsible for this trend, including environmental pollution and repeated viral infections due to frequent temperature changes,” he said.

Dr Patil said enlarged adenoid symptoms such as nose blockage, breathing difficulties, disturbed sleep, and repeated ear pain can have a significant impact on the child’s education and overall quality of life.

“We have successfully performed several endoscopic adenoid surgeries, which are minimally invasive procedures. We use a small camera to visualise and remove the adenoids, which are small masses of tissue located in the back of the nasal cavity. This surgery has proven to be highly effective in treating the symptoms associated with adenoid enlargement, and the children experience significant relief, immediately after the procedure,” he explained.

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