Adenoidectomy for obstructive sleep apnea in children

Keren Armoni Domany, Elad Dana, Riva Tauman, Guy Gut, Michal Greenfeld, Bat El Yakir, Yakov Sivan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Study Objective: Adenotonsillectomy is the recommended treatment for children with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Since adenoidectomy alone may be associated with significantly lower morbidity, mortality, and cost, we aimed to investigate whether adenoidectomy alone is a reasonable and appropriate treatment for children with OSA. Methods: Five-hundred fifteen consecutive children diagnosed with moderate-to-severe OSA (apnea-hypopnea index > 5) based on polysomnography and who underwent adenoidectomy or adenotonsillectomy were reevaluated after 17-73 months (mean 41) for residual or recurrent OSA using a validated questionnaire (Pediatric Sleep Questionnaire, PSQ). Failure of OSA resolution was defined as a positive mean PSQ score ≥ 0.33. Contribution of age, obesity, tonsil size, and OSA severity at baseline to adenoidectomy or adenotonsillectomy failure was examined. Results: Positive PSQ score occurred in 15% of the entire sample and was not influenced by age or gender. No difference in failure rate was observed between adenoidectomy and adenotonsillectomy for children who were not obese with apnea-hypopnea index < 10 and had small tonsils (< 3). Children with apnea-hypopnea index ≥ 10 and/or tonsil size ≥ 3 showed a higher failure rate after adenoidectomy compared to adenotonsillectomy (20% versus 9.8%, p = 0.028). Conclusions: We suggest that subjective, long term outcomes of adenoidectomy are comparable to those of adenotonsillectomy in non-obese children under 7 years old with moderately OSA and small tonsils. Hence, adenoidectomy alone is a reasonable option in some children. Future prospective randomized studies are warranted to define children who may benefit from adenoidectomy alone and those children in whom adenoidectomy alone is unlikely to succeed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1285-1291
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Clinical Sleep Medicine
Issue number9
StatePublished - 2016


  • Adenoidectomy
  • Adenotonsillectomy
  • Children
  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • Pediatric sleep questionnaire


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