Tonsil and adenoid hypertrophy describes an abnormal enlargement of the tonsils, adenoids, or both. This can lead to many problems such as nasal congestion, snoring, and sinus and ear infections. More importantly, hypertrophy of the adenoids and tonsils is a major cause of obstructive sleep apnea in children.
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a condition where a blockage of the upper airway prevents normal breathing during sleep. Signs include loud snoring, restless sleep, waking up multiple times, and actual periods where no breathing occurs. In children, this is usually caused by large tonsils, adenoids, or both. It can affect school performance, intelligence, attention, and daytime behavior.
Tonsillectomy with or without adenoidectomy can cure most children who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea. The goal of the operation is to increase the space of the uper airway so that air flow freely to the lungs durng respiration. As you can see in the illustrations to the left, tonsil hypertrophy is divided into four categories. The picture on the top represents typt 1 tonsils. As you progress down the series, you have type 2, 3, and 4 tonsillar hpertrophy.
Surgical cure is achieved in several ways. With the traditional technique, all tonsil and adenoid tissue is removed. This results in exposure of the muscles of the upper throat muscles wich leads to a slower recovery and more pain in the postoperative perios.
Newer technology can be used for some people whereby the majority of the tissue is liquefied or shaved away. These minimally invasive techniques can have the benefit of less postoperative pain and faster recovery time.