Paradigm shift in Sweden from tonsillectomy to tonsillotomy for children with upper airway obstructive symptoms due to tonsillar hypertrophy

Eur Arch Otorhinolaryngol. 2013 Sep;270(9):2531-6. doi: 10.1007/s00405-013-2374-7. Epub 2013 Feb 6.


Tonsillotomy (TT) is now used more often than tonsillectomy (TE) for tonsil obstructive symptoms in Sweden. Both TE and TT give high patient satisfaction although TT results in fewer postoperative bleedings and shorter time when analgesics are needed. The objective of this study is to analyze the current prevalence of different tonsil surgery procedures, the rates of early and late bleeding and other complications. Data from the National Tonsil Surgery Register in Sweden were analyzed. Patients 1-15 years operated for symptoms due to tonsil hypertrophy were included. Surgical procedure, technique and bleedings during hospital stay were registered. Thirty days after surgery, unplanned contacts due to bleeding, infection or pain were reported as were symptom relief after 6 months. 24,083 patients were registered. Of the 10,826 children 1-15 years operated for obstructive symptoms, 64 % were TT or TT+A, and 34 % TE, TE+A. 69 % answered the 30-day questionnaire and 50 % the 6 months. Bleeding in hospital occurred in 1.38 %, late bleedings in 2.06 %: 3.7 % after TE+A, 0.8 % after TT+A. Differences in readmissions due to bleeding, number of days using analgesics, health care contacts due to pain and nosocomial infections were significant between TT and TE, but not differences with regard to symptom relief after 6 months.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cross Infection / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertrophy / complications*
  • Hypertrophy / physiopathology
  • Hypertrophy / surgery
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Pain, Postoperative / epidemiology*
  • Palatine Tonsil / pathology*
  • Palatine Tonsil / surgery
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Postoperative Hemorrhage / epidemiology*
  • Registries
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Sweden / epidemiology
  • Tonsillectomy / adverse effects
  • Tonsillectomy / methods*
  • Treatment Outcome