Obstructive sleep apnea is a common and serious disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops for 10 seconds or more during sleep. The disorder results in decreased oxygen in the blood and can briefly awaken sleepers throughout the night. Sleep apnea has many different possible causes.
In adults, the most common cause of obstructive sleep apnea is excess weight and obesity, which is associated with soft tissue of the mouth and throat. During sleep, when throat and tongue muscles are more relaxed,...
Your doctor may suggest tonsillectomy
and adenoidectomy to treat sleep apnea if you have enlarged tonsils and
adenoids that are blocking your airway during sleep. This is often the first
treatment option for children, because enlarged tonsils and adenoids are
usually the cause of their sleep apnea.
How Well It Works
Children who have a tonsillectomy
and adenoidectomy to treat sleep apnea usually have a noticeable improvement in
their symptoms within 6 months of the surgery. Parents have reported decreases
Snoring, coughing, and
Overactivity (hyperactivity) and other behavioral
In children, these procedures appear to be successful in
treating obstructive sleep apnea 75% to 100% of the time, even if the child is
After a tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy, your
throat will be sore. This can make eating and swallowing difficult for a few
days. Other possible complications after surgery include:
(Some bleeding is expected.)
What To Think About
Snoring is not always considered a
medical problem, so your insurance may not pay for treatment.
Simply looking at the size of your tonsils and adenoids cannot predict
whether you will have snoring or breathing problems.
If you have
other health problems, your doctor may have to treat them before you have this
Tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy are the most common
treatment for children who have obstructive sleep apnea.
Children who have certain health problems that
cause bony deformities of the face and head, such as
dwarfism or Down syndrome, may need close monitoring
before surgery. Also, children who have nervous and muscular disorders, such as
cerebral palsy, or who have a head injury may need to
be monitored closely before surgery.
Children who have other
conditions, such as
asthma, upper respiratory infections, and heart
problems, need to be treated for those conditions before and after surgery to
reduce the risk of complications.