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Different tonsillectomy techniques may result in fewer complications
Date:5/31/2010

Alexandria, VA 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 co
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Contact: Jessica Mikulski
newsroom@entnet.org
703-535-3762
American Academy of Otolaryngology -- Head and Neck Surgery
Source:Eurekalert

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