Sleep Apnea Treatment: Can Adenoid Removal Cure Sleep Apnea?

Adenoid Removal Cure Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea tends to result in uneven breathing throughout one’s sleep, often stopping and starting again at various points. Usually, sleep apnea occurs due to narrow airways that make it difficult to breathe properly.

To make this easier, adenoid removal is usually carried out in young children in particular. Sleep apnea adenoid removal can work as a treatment for children if done with tonsillectomy since it can open up their airways and help them breathe easier.

There are both benefits and risks associated with this kind of treatment that we can look into in detail.

What Is Adenoid Removal?

Adenoid removal is a surgical procedure that involves getting rid of the adenoids near the throat. The adenoid is a tissue that grows and locates itself between the nose and the throat. This tissue, if swollen, can interfere with normal breathing in children.

This surgery is formally known as adenoidectomy and is usually carried out alongside tonsil removal. After giving anesthesia, the doctor performs the surgery through the subject’s open mouth and gets rid of the extra tissue.

Benefits of Adenoid Removal

There are several benefits of sleep apnea adenoid removal that can make the situation better. We can discuss some of these benefits in further detail below.

Easier Breathing

Adenoid removal can lead to easier breathing. This takes place because the tissue that was blocking the airway is now no longer present. This makes it easier for the air to easily pass through the nasal passage, reducing the chances of disturbed breathing at night.

It will take a couple of weeks for the surgery to show its effects, since the altered part of the nasal passage will take that long to fully recover. Allergies can also reduce after this surgery.

This surgery has a high success rate among children, with most of them being able to breathe better after the surgery. This does not necessarily mean that the surgery will completely cure sleep apnea, as it could redevelop again.

Better Sleep

Adenoid removal can also result in better and improved sleep throughout the night. Sleep apnea can otherwise lead to disturbed sleep, especially if it takes place several times during the night.

Whenever your breathing gets disturbed, your brain sends a signal that causes you to wake up suddenly to even your breathing out once again. If swollen adenoids are the cause of sleep apnea, then getting them removed can reduce the number of times you have to keep waking up at night.

This can then improve productivity and reduce general drowsiness throughout the day.

Behavioral Changes

A lack of healthy sleep at night due to sleep apnea can have several impacts on the behavior of children as well as adults. For instance, several symptoms of sleep apnea have associations with depression, anxiety, hyperactivity, stress and more.

Removing the cause of sleep apnea can help get rid of these issues and can lead to generally healthy physical and mental health. For children, additional behavioral benefits such as reduced crankiness and restlessness can be seen as well.

Overall, feeling healthier mentally can have several benefits on their formative years as well.


Apart from the obvious benefits of this surgery, there are several risks that are important to take note of as well. Let’s go through some of these risks in detail.


Bleeding tends to be a common risk associated with adenoid removal. In fact, bleeding is a common occurrence that takes place after this kind of surgery is carried out. Therefore, a small amount of bleeding is not necessarily a cause for concern since it will stop in a short amount of time.

However, it is possible that this bleeding could take place in large amounts, which is ultimately dangerous for the person and needs to be checked out once again.


Adenoid removal might also lead to an infection in the surgical area in case something goes wrong or if harmful or unsuitable elements come into contact with the altered tissue.

Generally, a slight soreness in the throat is to be expected when it comes to the consequences or side effects of this surgery. It can also make it difficult for the person to consume food properly.

After one or two weeks, however, this discomfort should die down. In case it persists, the infection might be serious and you should get it checked out with the doctor again.

Long-Term Risks

Though rare, there might be some long-term risks associated with this surgery as well. For instance, if the child or adult has other underlying conditions that have so far remained undiagnosed, they might cause issues for them later on if this kind of surgery takes place. However, it is likely that the doctor will conduct the necessary tests for this.

The chances for this are higher with respiratory issues. These could also develop at a later point, although the chances of this higher rate are not too concerning if balanced with the remaining population.

Other Treatment Options

All in all, sleep apnea can be more useful for children than for adults. This is because the size of the adenoids might naturally reduce over time or might not show the same kind of enlargement in adults.

For both children and adults, there are several other treatment options that your doctor might first recommend to you before suggesting surgery.

In many cases, if sleep apnea occurs due to an unhealthy lifestyle, then your doctor might suggest improving this part of your life to gradually solve the issue.

For a large part, continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy or devices are used to cure or reduce sleep apnea. The best course of action would be to speak to your doctor and see what they recommend after conducting tests and diagnosis.

Concluding Remarks

It is now clear that adenoid removal can help cure sleep apnea to a certain extent with higher rates of success in children than in adults.

Apart from the benefits, however, there are several risks associated with this surgery that you must be aware of. You can also opt for other kinds of treatment if surgery does not work well for you.


Dan was diagnosed with sleep apnea in 2017 when he was only 32 years old. He has been using a BIPAP machine for his treatment. He hopes to provide a patient's perspective on the sleep apnea experience. Dan lives in Tampa with his girlfriend and 2 dogs.

Recent Posts