Coblation tonsillectomy versus dissection tonsillectomy: postoperative hemorrhage

Laryngoscope. 2003 Nov;113(11):2010-3. doi: 10.1097/00005537-200311000-00029.


Objectives/hypothesis: Coblation tonsillectomy is a recently introduced surgical technique. To measure its benefits against traditional tonsillectomy techniques, it is necessary to compare their complication rates. The study aims to identify differences in reactionary and secondary hemorrhage proportions, comparing coblation with dissection tonsillectomy.

Study design: Prospective observational cohort study.

Methods: Rates of reactionary and delayed postoperative hemorrhage were measured, comparing 844 coblation tonsillectomies with a control group of 743 tonsillectomies performed by blunt dissection with bipolar diathermy hemostasis.

Results: The secondary hemorrhage rate with coblation-assisted tonsillectomy was 2.25% compared with 6.19% in the control group (P <.05). The rate of secondary hemorrhage in children following coblation tonsillectomy was 0.95% compared with 4.77% in the control group (P <.05). The difference was also significant (P <.05) in the adult population (4.40% vs. 8.81%, respectively). No difference was found in the reactionary hemorrhage proportions.

Conclusion: In the study, coblation tonsillectomy was associated with a lesser incidence of delayed hemorrhage, more significantly in the pediatric population. The new technique using tissue coblation for tonsil dissection offers significant advantages in the postoperative period compared with dissection tonsillectomy with bipolar diathermy hemostasis. Coblation is associated with less postoperative pain and early return to daily activities. Also, there are fewer secondary infections of the tonsil bed and significantly lower rates of secondary hemorrhage with coblation. These results and the disposable nature of the coblation equipment promote coblation tonsillectomy as the authors' preferred dissection method.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cohort Studies
  • Electric Stimulation / instrumentation
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Observation
  • Postoperative Hemorrhage / epidemiology
  • Postoperative Hemorrhage / prevention & control*
  • Prevalence
  • Prospective Studies
  • Tonsillectomy / methods*