Cochrane Summaries

Trusted evidence. Informed decisions. Better health.

Adenotonsillectomy for obstructive sleep apnoea in children

Lim J, McKean MC
Published Online: 
16 February 2011

The current treatment of choice for surgical treatment of obstructive sleep apnoea (reduction of airflow at the nose and mouth during sleep) in children is adenotonsillectomy (the removal of the adenoids and tonsils), due to its perceived efficacy, cost effectiveness and the relative size of adenoid and tonsil tissue in children. There is a lack of strong evidence to support the use of adenotonsillectomy in children with sleep apnoea, although there are some data to indicate that a procedure which removes part of the tonsils (temperature controlled radiofrequency tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy) leads to quicker return to normal diet in the post-surgery phase than complete tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy. There is some debate as to the diagnosis of obstructive sleep apnoea in children and further research would need to undertake extensive diagnostic tests to make an appropriate diagnosis.

This record should be cited as: 
Lim J, McKean MC. Adenotonsillectomy for obstructive sleep apnoea in children. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2009, Issue 2. Art. No.: CD003136. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD003136.pub2
Assessed as up to date: 
6 August 2010