Combining results from over 15 studies containing over 71,000 children, the estimated rate of repeat ear tube placement for recurrent ear infections in children who also had adenoidectomy was only 17.2% vs 31.8% for children undergoing ear tubes alone. However this significance faded under the age of 4 years.
Why would adenoid removal influence ear infections?
First a little anatomy lesson...
In the back of the nose, there is an opening called the eustachian tube that goes up into the ear. That's why one is able to pop the ears when blowing into a pinched nose.
|Image by Chittka and Brockmann from Wikipedia|
As such, removal of the adenoids would allow the eustachian tube to function better as well as eliminate a potential reservoir of infection.
However, recommendation for adenoid removal typically occurs if a child requires a 2nd set of tubes which usually occurs around age 4. Adenoidectomy may be recommended with the initial set of ear tubes (after taking into consideration age) if other symptoms are present including nasal obstruction and a snotty nose.
Adenoidectomy as an Adjuvant to Primary Tympanostomy Tube Placement: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. JAMA Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2013 Nov 28. doi: 10.1001/jamaoto.2013.5842. [Epub ahead of print]