Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Different tonsillectomy techniques may result in fewer complications

In a review of three different surgical techniques commonly used for tonsillectomy, the microdebrider technique (where a rotary cutting tool is used to shave tissue) had the lowest overall complication rate when compared to the other two techniques. The results are shown in new research published in the June 2010 issue of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery.

Tonsillectomy is among the oldest and most commonly performed procedures in the pediatric population. Approximately 530,000 outpatient pediatric adenotonsillectomies (which include removal of the adenoids) are performed annually in U.S. hospitals. Despite the frequency of the procedure, there is no universally accepted "ideal" method.

And although generally considered a safe procedure, tonsillectomy has significant potential for complications, especially in the pediatric population. Potential major complications include: post-operative hemorrhage, dehydration, and anesthetic and airway risks. Common post-operative complaints like odynophagia (painful swallowing), otalgia (ear pain), fever, and uvular swelling tend to prolong the pediatric patient's recovery.

The objective of the new study was to determine if surgical technique is associated with a patient experiencing post-surgical complications after undergoing adenotonsillectomy, and to identify patients who may be "at-risk" for major complications after such surgery.

The case-controlled study included 4,776 patients age 1 to 18 years, undergoing adenoidectomy, tonsillectomy, or adenotonsillectomy over a 36-month period. The three techniques compared were microdebrider, coblation (a controlled, non-heat-driven process using radiofrequency energy), or electrocautery (process of destroying tissue by heat conduction from an electrically heated metal probe).

Study results showed a statistically significant difference in the risks of developing a major complication of having a tonsillectomy with coblation, electrocautery, or microdebrider. The microdebrider had the lowest overall complication rate of 0.7 percent, versus that of the coblator, 2.8 percent, and electrocautery, 3.1 percent. The authors reported that those who had tonsillectomies via coblation were 3.9 times more likely to have complications than those who had tonsils removed via microdebrider. Additionally, complications for patients who had tonsillectomies via electrocautery were 4.4 times more likely than those who had tonsils removed via microdebrider.

"Questions will remain regarding what is the best procedure," said study author Craig S. Derkay, MD. "However, an important point is that that no matter which surgical technique was used for removal of the tonsils in the study, our results demonstrate an acceptable level of safety across all procedures."

In terms of risk factors for post-surgical complications, patient's age proved to be a significant aspect in their treatment and outcome following tonsillectomy. When looking at the average age of dehydration and post-tonsillectomy hemorrhage, the authors observed that the younger patients had more episodes of dehydration, while older patients tend to have more episodes of post-tonsillectomy hemorrhage.

The authors urge continued study in the area of adenotonsillectomy surgical techniques, but noted that the large cohort of patients in their study adds to the literature supporting the safety of intracapsular tonsillectomy.

Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery is the official scientific journal of the American Academy of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery Foundation (AAO-HNSF). The study's authors are Thomas Q. Gallagher, DO, Lyndy Wilcox, BA, Erin McGuire, BS, and Craig S. Derkay, MD.

Reporters who wish to obtain a copy of the study should contact

About the AAO-HNS

The American Academy of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery (, one of the oldest medical associations in the nation, represents nearly 11,000 physicians and allied health professionals who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the ears, nose, throat, and related structures of the head and neck. The Academy serves its members by facilitating the advancement of the science and art of medicine related to otolaryngology and by representing the specialty in governmental and socioeconomic issues. The organization's vision: "Empowering otolaryngologist-head and neck surgeons to deliver the best patient care."

Jessica Mikulski | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia
21.10.2016 | Universitätsklinikum Magdeburg

nachricht New potential cancer treatment using microwaves to target deep tumors
12.10.2016 | University of Texas at Arlington

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>