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Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2010 Apr;142(4):516-9. doi: 10.1016/j.otohns.2010.01.013.

Palatine tonsil size in obese, overweight, and normal-weight children with sleep-disordered breathing.

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  • 1Department of Otolaryngology, Asan Medical Center, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.



To assess palatine tonsil size relative to degree of obesity in children with sleep-disordered breathing (SDB).


Case-control study.


Tertiary care rhinology clinic.


We compared the subjective and objective tonsil size, including tonsil height (TH), tonsil width (TW), tonsil thickness (TT), tonsil weight (TWt), and tonsil volume (TV), in 26 obese children and 26 age- and gender-matched control children with SDB, and in 29 overweight children and 29 matched controls with SDB.


Despite similar subjective tonsil size in obese and control children, the objective tonsil size, including TH, TW, TT, and TWt, was larger in obese than in control children, and the mean TV was significantly greater in obese than in control children with SDB (8.53 +/- 3.30 mL vs 6.90 +/- 2.05 mL; 95% confidence interval [CI] of the difference 0.03-3.25; P = 0.019). In contrast, mean TV (7.38 +/- 3.43 mL vs 7.65 +/- 1.97 mL; 95% CI -1.92 to 1.37; P = 0.320) as well as the other parameters of objective palatine tonsil size, including TH, TW, TT, and TWt, did not differ significantly between overweight children and controls.


Obese children with SDB had larger palatine tonsils than did normal-weight children with SDB. This finding suggests that larger palatine tonsils may have a greater effect on upper airway obstruction in obese than in normal-weight children with SDB.

Copyright 2010 American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery Foundation. Published by Mosby, Inc. All rights reserved.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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