Conclusion: A significant reduction in post-tonsillectomy secondary haemorrhage rate was observed after coblation tonsillectomy was abandoned in our department.
Objective: Comparison of the postoperative haemorrhage rate following coblation tonsillectomy and routine dissection tonsillectomy.
Patients and methods: This was a retrospective study. In the first audit period, 441 sequential tonsillectomies between January and September 2002 were reviewed. Coblation was compared with cold steel and diathermy dissection with either ties and/or diathermy used for haemostasis. Coblation tonsillectomy was subsequently abandoned in our unit and, in the second audit period, all tonsillectomies (n=416) between July 2003 and August 2004 were included. Statistical analysis was performed using the chi2 test.
Results: The overall primary haemorrhage rate in the first audit cycle was 1.8% (8/441). In the second cycle with no coblation procedures, 1.4% of patients (6/416) suffered from primary haemorrhage (c.f. 8/441 (1.8%) in the first cycle, p=0.666). Secondary haemorrhage, was seen among 15.4% of patients (68/441) in the first audit cycle. In the second cycle, after coblation was discontinued, the secondary haemorrhage rate fell significantly (p<0.001) to 5.8% (24/416). A breakdown of the results of cold steel/diathermy and coblation techniques in both adults and children is also presented.