Weight gain after adenotonsillectomy is more common in young children

David F. Smith, Ami R. Vikani, James R. Benke, Emily F. Boss, Stacey L. Ishman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Objective. Adenotonsillectomy (TA), performed for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) or recurrent tonsillitis (RT), has been associated with weight gain after surgery. The objective of this study was to look at a large population of children undergoing TA and the demographic factors that contribute to postoperative weight gain. Study Design. Case series with retrospective chart review. Setting. Tertiary, urban academic care center. Subjects and Methods. Children undergoing TA at an academic center between 2008 and 2011 were included in this study. Demographic data (age, gender, race), OSA disease severity, preoperative and 3- to 6-month postoperative normalized body mass index (BMI; z-scores), and changes in zscores were compared. Results. Complete weight data after TA were available for 115 children, 85 of whom underwent surgery for OSA. Mean age (7.2 ± 4.3 vs 7.3 ± 4.4 years, P = .955) and gender distribution (38% female vs 50% male; P = .323) were similar for the OSA and RT groups. However, children with OSA were more likely to be black (60% vs 33%) than RT patients (P = .026). Overall, the preoperative BMI z-score increased from 0.98 ± 1.50 to 1.21 ± 1.25 (P = .0009) with no difference by surgical indication (P = .58). Multiple linear regression analysis demonstrated that only age was significantly, and negatively, associated with changes in BMI z-scores (P = .015). Conclusions. Similar to previous studies, children had weight gain after TA. In this analysis, younger age (≤6 years) was a significant predictor of postoperative weight gain. Future research should prospectively evaluate the association between weight gain and demographic factors in children undergoing TA, with special attention to the relationship with age.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)488-493
Number of pages6
JournalOtolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery (United States)
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2013


  • Adenotonsillectomy
  • Pediatric obstructive sleep apnea
  • Weight gain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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