ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Tonsillectomy and Sleep Apnea in Children

Updated on January 6, 2010

Sleep apnea

Child with CPAP device
Child with CPAP device


Sleep apnea is an illness in which your breathing halts momentarily during sleep. A Sleep Apnea is a medical term for this failure to breathe. Sleep apnea can be due to a problem with the brain which is called central apnea but is alot more likely due to the collapse of tissues into the airway which is called obstructive apnea.

The usual cause for this obstruction in children is large tonsils and adenoids. The Adenoids are located high in the throat, behind the nose. If the adenoids are very large, they can obstruct the nasal airway. If your child has obstructive sleep apnea due to large tonsils and adenoids, removal of these tissues usually cures the problem. The surgery to remove your tonsils is a tonsillectomy and to remove your adenoids is a adenoidectomy

Alternative treatments

Alternative, non surgical treatments  include using steroids or a special airway breathing device known as CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure). Steroids tend to have only a temporary effect and have many potential side effects. Children can tolerate a CPAP, but it may not work well if the tonsils and adenoids are very large. A CPAP device is usually designated for children who are too sick to undergo surgery, or who continue to have significant OSA despite surgery. Obese children may continue to have significant OSA despite having a tonsillectomy or adenoidectomy.

Tonsillectomy and Adenoidectomy

It is very important to address OSA in children as if it is left untreated, severe OSA can lead to delayed growth and eventual heart and lung failure. Less severe complications include daytime sleepiness, hyperactivity, developmental delay and poor school performance.

Tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy usually takes about 45-60 minutes and is performed under a general anesthesia. If your child has a significant degree of OSA, he or she may need to remain overnight in the hospital, and will be closely monitored during this time.

Children with moderate to severe OSA will most likely require an overnight stay because they have a somewhat greater risk of developing postoperative problems. Other children who are at particular risk of postoperative complications are those who have either seizures, cerebral palsy, Down's Syndrome, or a history of congenital heart disease. Obese children and children under the age of 3 are also at risk.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Tammy Favata profile image

      Tammy Favata 

      6 years ago

      Thank you for this. My son just had his tonsils out. We are hoping this will solve many of his issues!

    • profile image

      Ms Beaded Jewelry 

      8 years ago


      Thanks for your informative hub. My nephew has been suffering with exactly this! He has been battling at school due to the daytime sleepiness. I will be sure to pass on your great post!


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)