Do you find our website to be helpful?
Yes   No

Tonsillectomies and the Sleep Apnea Connection

The Mayo Clinic defines a tonsillectomy as “the surgical removal of the tonsils, two oval-shaped pads of tissue at the back of the throat – one tonsil on each side.”  Historically, this procedure was used as a tool in fighting chronic streptococcal infections.  Recent research is suggesting that the prevention of these infections “appear to go away” over time.  But more interestingly is that this procedure has been found to be beneficial to patients in other unexpected ways.

A recent Reuters article by Lisa Rappaport discusses the interesting transition of the tonsillectomy.  Still a widely common procedure, the latest research suggests that the infections the tonsillectomy was enacted to deter are sometimes only bringing short term relief.  The article mentions a Pediatrics study that claims “three years after tonsillectomies, children who had these procedures had roughly the same number of throat infections as kids who didn’t get their tonsils out.”  Ms. Rappaport goes on to intimate that the existing research failed to address the correlation between level of severity and level of benefit, which would surely effect the results of the study.

One of the authors of this most recent study – Dr. Sivakumar Chinnadurai – stated to Ms. Rappaport:

“The recognition of risks, and the knowledge that some patients’ infection rate improves over time has led to (strep) infection being a much less common indication for tonsillectomy than it was in the past.  While tonsillectomy remains one of the most common surgeries performed in the United States, the main indication for children has switched to obstructed breathing.”

It may not seem too surprising that inflamed, swollen tonsils may cause a child some difficulty breathing.  In a second study, researchers gathered data from almost a dozen previous studies that showed a clear correlation between tonsillectomy and sleep quality.  Ms. Rappaport states that “Compared to kids who didn’t get surgery, children who had tonsillectomies had greater improvements in sleep-related quality of life and in negative behaviors that are worsened by apnea…”

As with most newly found data within the medical community, these findings are not definite; they do, however, offer some hope for possible future prevention of Sleep Apnea.  As always, Pittsburgh Dental Sleep Medicine will stay aware and report on this and all other sleep related topics.

You Might Also Enjoy...

The Daily Grind

Deadlines, staffing issues, long hours, excessive workloads -- all of these stressors can manifest into physical disorders of the body. Bruxism, also known as clenching and grinding your teeth, is just one example and can often become debilitating.

Telehealth: The Advantages of Telemedicine

Struggles to get to the clinic? Trying to reduce your exposure to COVID-19, as well as other contagious illnesses, and still need to see your doctor? Telehealth is safe and easy — receive quality care from anywhere.

Do I Have Sleep Apnea?

Less than 10% of those who actually have Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) have been diagnosed and successfully treated. Take the free self-screening test to see if you may be at risk for OSA.

ARE YOU RUNNING FROM A BEAR IN YOUR SLEEP?

Sleep is a time for your body to relax, your cells to regenerate, and your body to repair from the work it has done for you during the day. In people who suffer from unmanaged obstructive sleep apnea, their bodies are not given the opportunity to do this.

Your Heart Health is Safe in Our Hands

Your Heart Health is a priority to the providers at our practice. Between 40% and 80% of people with cardiovascular disease also have sleep apnea. Click to see if your symptoms are telling you something!