This study compared tonsillectomy by potassium-titanyl-phosphate (KTP/532) laser with tonsillectomy by traditional dissection and snare. Eighty-three consecutive patients who were candidates for a tonsillectomy were randomly assigned to one of four groups in a prospective study. The four treatments were bilateral traditional dissection/snare tonsillectomy, bilateral KTP/532-laser tonsillectomy, left laser tonsillectomy and right dissection/snare tonsillectomy, and left dissection/snare tonsillectomy and right laser tonsillectomy. Intraoperative comparisons were made between the two methods with regard to blood loss and operating time. Postoperatively bleeding and healing time were also recorded. A questionnaire answered on a daily basis assessed the patient's pain. Disadvantages of the KTP/532 tonsillectomy included increased cost, increased total operating time as a result of increased setup time and laser malfunctions, delayed healing, and no statistically significant improvement in level of pain. The sole advantage associated with the KTP/532 laser tonsillectomy was decreased blood loss, which may be significant for patients with a coagulopathy.