The effect of radiofrequency ablation on microbiology of the tonsils

Int J Pediatr Otorhinolaryngol. 2012 Nov;76(11):1654-7. doi: 10.1016/j.ijporl.2012.07.039. Epub 2012 Aug 29.


Objective: To investigate the effect of tonsil size reduction using temperature controlled radiofrequency on the number of pathogenic bacteria in the tonsil tissue.

Materials and methods: This study was performed on 25 patients who had undergone tonsillectomy under general anesthesia at our clinic. Immediately after the cold knife tonsillectomy both tonsils were removed, one was included in the control and the other one was included in the study group. In vitro radiofrequency was applied to the tonsil in the study group at eight distinct points, each lasting 15s. Biopsy materials were taken under sterile conditions from the center of each tonsil for further culturing.

Results: The difference in bacterial number was investigated between the two groups. The bacterial number following radiofrequency administration was found to be significantly very lower compared to the control group (p<0.01). Radiofrequency administration significantly reduced growth of all types of bacteria.

Conclusion: The radiofrequency tonsil ablation technique, which is used safely and effectively in the management of obstructive tonsil hypertrophy, currently has no indication for the treatment of patients with chronic and recurrent tonsillitis. However, when the right conditions are provided, the radiofrequency tonsil ablation technique may be applied to patients with chronic and recurrent tonsillitis and further studies investigating the differences in the frequency of patients' tonsillitis episodes should be undertaken.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Catheter Ablation*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Colony Count, Microbial
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neisseria / isolation & purification
  • Neisseria / radiation effects*
  • Palatine Tonsil / microbiology*
  • Palatine Tonsil / surgery*
  • Streptococcus / isolation & purification
  • Streptococcus / radiation effects*
  • Tonsillectomy / methods
  • Tonsillitis / surgery
  • Young Adult