Post-tonsillectomy hemorrhage rates in children compared by surgical technique

Nicole M. Reusser, Robert W. Bender, Nikhil A. Agrawal, James T. Albright, Newton O. Duncan, Joseph L. Edmonds

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Despite the sheer number of pediatric tonsillectomies performed in the United States annually, there is no clear consensus as to which surgical technique is superior. One way to compare surgical techniques is to study the morbidity associated with each. We report postoperative hemorrhage rates, one of the frequently encountered major adverse events, as part of a retrospective chart review across four different surgical techniques. These surgeries involved either (1) Coblation, (2) Co-blation with partial suture closure of the tonsillar fossa, (3) diathermy, or (4) partial intracapsular tonsillectomy (PIT). Of the 7,024 children we evaluated, 99 (1.4%) experienced a postoperative hemorrhage that required a second surgery; hemorrhage occurred after 33 of the 3,177 Coblation-alone procedures (1.04%), 28 of the 1,633 Coblation with partial suture closure procedures (1.71%), 29 of the 1,850 diathermies (1.57%), and 9 of the 364 PIT procedures (2.47%). Statistical analysis of hemorrhage rates with each surgical technique yielded p values >0.05 in each case (Coblation alone and Coblation with partial suture closure: p = 0.29; diathermy: p = 0.47; PIT, p = 0.20). Based on these data, we conclude that none of these techniques is significantly superior in terms of decreasing the risk of post-tonsillectomy hemorrhage in children. Therefore, surgeons should continue to use the surgical procedure they are most familiar with to optimize recovery in the postoperative period.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberE7
JournalEar, Nose and Throat Journal
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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