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Question 25 - Is there a relationship between sleep surgery and depression?

From: R. C.

After years of sleep apnea, my daughter (now 16) finally had a tonsillectomy (her adenoids were also removed) in June of this year. She started snoring when she was an infant;I was told many physicians her tonsils were enlarged but she would grow into them.

Fast-forward, she never grew into them and developed sleep apnea. She quickly put on weight and could never properly drop the weight. We were referred to a great ear, nose, throat specialist and recommended her for the surgery. She had a great recovery and has not had a recurrence of sleep apnea. I am inquiring if you may have heard others about the healing process after surgery. My daughter is experiencing depression and anxiety. She never had problems with this prior. I read all the symptoms for disturbed sleep and my daughter never experienced those symptoms when her sleep was disrupted. She is an honor student, been that way since kindergarten and is considered gifted. She finally had a "real" period and menses lasted a full week, not spotting for 24 hrs. She seemed very emotional leading up to the week and a week after. The specialist warned us about changes in her body post operation. She described the effects of the sleep apnea as "hibernation mode", and indicated that was the reason for the weight gain.

Could you please tell me what you have heard or seen in cases such as this? I would greatly appreciate it! Sincerely,



Answer Provided by Dr. Kasey Li
Nov. 2, 2007

Some patients can feel a bit “down” after a big operation and can take a few months to recover emotionally. However, T&A is not a big operation and should not cause such response.

If she is fully healed and continues to feel depressed, I suspect that there are other contributing factors.

Good luck.


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