Postoperative sore throat: cause, prevention and treatment

Anaesthesia. 1999 May;54(5):444-53. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2044.1999.00780.x.


Sore throat is a common postoperative complaint, occurring most often following tracheal intubation. Factors such as tracheal-tube size and cuff design have been shown to be important causative factors. Routine tracheal intubation for elective surgical procedures can result in pathological changes, trauma and nerve damage which may also account for postoperative throat symptoms. Sore throat following the use of a laryngeal mask appears to be related to the technique of insertion but the contribution of intracuff pressure remains to be clarified. It would appear, however, that high intracuff pressure is associated with nerve palsies due to neuropraxia and nerve compression. Careful insertion techniques for both the tracheal tube and laryngeal mask are of paramount importance in the prevention of airway trauma and postoperative sore throat.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Intubation, Intratracheal / adverse effects*
  • Laryngeal Masks / adverse effects
  • Pharyngitis / etiology*
  • Pharyngitis / prevention & control
  • Pharyngitis / therapy