Role of subtotal tonsillectomy ('tonsillotomy') in children with sleep disordered breathing

John Wood, Matthew Cho, Andrew Carney

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    24 Citations (Scopus)


    Introduction: Sleep disordered breathing in children causes disturbance in behaviour and also in cardiorespiratory and neurocognitive function. Subtotal tonsillectomy ('tonsillotomy') has been performed to treat sleep disordered breathing, with outcomes comparable to established therapies such as total tonsillectomy or adenoidectomy. This review critically assesses the role of subtotal tonsillectomy in a paediatric setting. Method: The Medline database (1966 to October 2012) was electronically searched using key terms including subtotal or intracapsular tonsillectomy, tonsillotomy, tonsillectomy, paediatrics, and sleep disordered breathing. Results: Eighteen papers were identified and reviewed. Subtotal tonsillectomy would appear to have an efficacy equal to that of total tonsillectomy for the treatment of sleep disordered breathing, and has significant benefits in reducing post-operative pain and analgesia use. Subtotal tonsillectomy patients appear to have less frequent post-operative haemorrhage compared with total tonsillectomy patients. Conclusion: In children, subtotal tonsillectomy is associated with fewer post-operative complications whilst having a comparable effect in improving sleep disordered breathing, compared with total tonsillectomy.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)S3-S7
    Number of pages5
    JournalJournal of Laryngology and Otology
    Issue numberSupplement S1
    Publication statusPublished - Jan 2014


    • Pediatrics
    • Sleep Apnea
    • Sleep Disordered Breathing
    • Tonsillectomy


    Dive into the research topics of 'Role of subtotal tonsillectomy ('tonsillotomy') in children with sleep disordered breathing'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this