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 after surgery.
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:
In children, these procedures appear to be successful in treating obstructive sleep apnea 75% to 100% of the time, even if the child is obese.1
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 surgery.
Tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy are the most common treatment for children who have obstructive sleep apnea.
Last Revised: June 17, 2011
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