Home > Health Library > Tonsillectomy and Adenoidectomy for Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Snoring
Tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy are surgeries
that remove the
tonsils or adenoids. These surgeries are:
The surgeries typically require a stay in the hospital.
You may need close monitoring after
surgery. Your doctor or surgeon will watch:
Children who are younger than 3 years and who have other
medical conditions, such as
Down syndrome, are more likely to have complications,
especially difficulty breathing. These children may need
oxygen therapy or
continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy
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.
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
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:
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
treatments for children who have obstructive sleep apnea.
Complete the surgery information form (PDF)surgery information form (PDF)(What is a PDF document?) to help you prepare for this surgery.
Schechter MS, et al. (2002). Technical report:
Diagnosis and management of childhood obstructive sleep apnea syndrome.
Pediatrics, 109(4): E69. Available online:
Current as of:
June 25, 2013
Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine & Mark A. Rasmus, MD - Pulmonology, Critical Care Medicine, Sleep Medicine
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