Objective/hypothesis: To compare cold and mixed (electrocautery tonsillectomy with curettage adenoidectomy) adenotonsillectomies in children in terms of hospital medications' and materials' costs, surgical time, aspirated blood volume, and postoperative pain.
Study design: Randomized clinical trial in community hospitals.
Methods: Seventy-two patients aged 3 to 12 years, undergoing adenotonsillectomy, were randomized in two groups through sealed envelopes that were opened just prior to the procedure. Surgical time and aspirated blood volume were measured by a staff nurse. Hospital medication and material costs were supplied by the hospital's accounting department. A validated facial pain scale was used from the day of surgery to the 10th postoperative day to quantify pain.
Results: Bicaudal t test showed that materials' cost was lower in the mixed technique. Surgical time and aspirated blood volume were also lower with the mixed technique. The postoperative pain was more intense in the cold technique on the day of surgery, but was more intense in the mixed technique from the 4th day to the 6th day. Linear regression showed a weak association between materials' cost and aspirated blood volume.
Conclusions: Mixed technique reduces the costs of materials while offering the patient and the surgeon a safer and faster method to perform adenotonsillectomy, although it is slightly more painful than the cold technique in the latter part of the postoperative period.