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Tonsillectomy Surgery For Sleep Apnea


HOW CAN ENLARGED TONSILS CAUSE SLEEP APNEA IN MY CHILD? When a child has an infection, it causes tonsils to enlarge, subsequently blocking nasal passages and making breathing through the nose difficult or even impossible. When enlarged tonsils become a chronic issue, a tonsillectomy is necessary to prevent the serious symptoms and side effects of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), including:

  • Loud snoring or noisy breathing during sleep
  • Periods of no breathing at all. Although the chest wall may be moving, no oxygen is moving through your child’s nose and mouth into the lungs. The duration of these events (called apneas) is variable and measured in seconds.
  • Mouth breathing. The passage to the nose may be completely blocked by the enlarged tonsils, causing mouth breathing and even speaking with a nasal voice.
  • Restlessness during sleep. This can occur with or without periods of being awake.
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness or irritability. Because his or her quality of sleep is poor, your child may be sleepy, hard to wake from a nap, or irritable during the day.
  • Hyperactivity during the day. Behavioral, learning and social problems can also be common for children with sleep apnea. In fact, sleep apnea is commonly misdiagnosed as ADHD.

Although not as common as with children, adults (who still have their tonsils) may also be candidates for a tonsillectomy if enlarged tonsils are contributing to sleep apnea or other health conditions.

Is the tonsillectomy an out-patient procedure at NYC SleepWell?

Yes, our board certified ENT surgeons perform tonsillectomies in addition to many other surgical treatments in our state-of-the-art accredited facility or in a hospital. Patients undergoing tonsillectomy surgery are provided with general anesthesia and the entire surgery lasts between 30 to 45 minutes. Following the tonsillectomy, our team will provide detailed instructions on post-surgical care and follow-up.

What are the benefits of a tonsillectomy?

In addition to reduced sleep apnea symptoms, a tonsillectomy offers benefits including:

  • Decreased frequency of ear, nose and throat illnesses
  • Improved sleep quality
  • Decreased snoring
  • Continued relief from airway obstruction
  • Peace-of-mind knowing that your child will be sleeping soundly. And you, too!

Is a tonsillectomy covered by insurance?

A tonsillectomy for the treatment of sleep apnea may be covered by health insurance if it is medically prescribed specifically for the treatment of sleep apnea. The only way to receive coverage for any sleep apnea treatment is to have a sleep test conducted by a recognized sleep center and board certified physicians like those at NYC SleepWell. That’s why it’s important to schedule an appointment with NYC SleepWell. Based on a medical history and physical exam, we’ll determine if testing is required in your child’s case. In addition, our financial specialists are always available to help gather your insurance information and contact your insurance provider in order to determine your coverage. Please feel free to call us to schedule your appointment and answer any questions you may have.

Why choose NYC SleepWell for a tonsillectomy?

Led by Dr. Ruben Cohen, a Board Certified Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon, our skilled team of sleep specialists, general and pediatric dentists, orthodontists, ENT surgeons, and anaesthesiologists have extensive experience in tonsillectomies — in addition to other surgical treatments for a wide array of conditions related to sleep apnea. For your added peace-of-mind, our facility is accredited by the American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgery Facilities (AAAASF), the Gold Standard in Accreditation. Our goal at NYC SleepWell, plain and simple, is to help you sleep well – and be healthy!


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