Efficacy of Adjuvant Magnesium for Posttonsillectomy Morbidity in Children: A Meta-analysis

Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2018 Jan;158(1):27-35. doi: 10.1177/0194599817730354. Epub 2017 Sep 12.


Objectives The perioperative administration of magnesium is known to reduce postoperative morbidities in adults, such as pain, agitation, and laryngospasm. The objective is to assess the effects of perioperative magnesium as the adjuvant to tonsillectomy as compared with tonsillectomy in children. Data Source Five databases (PubMed, SCOPUS, Embase, Web of Science, Cochrane). Method Two authors independently searched databases up to January 2017. We compared perioperative magnesium administration (magnesium groups) with no administration of magnesium (control group). The following outcomes were measured: postoperative pain intensity, analgesics administration, or other morbidities (laryngospasm, agitation, postoperative bleeding) in the postoperative 24 hours. Additionally, to evaluate the discrepancy of effects according to different administration routes, subgroup analyses regarding effects according to systemic or local administration of magnesium were performed. Results Nine prospective randomized controlled studies (n = 615) that evaluated the effect of magnesium in children having undergone tonsillectomy met inclusion criteria. Compared with control group, the time for first analgesic requirement was significantly delayed in magnesium groups (standardized mean difference = 0.75; 95% CI, 0.20-1.31; P = .0079). Laryngospasm (log odds ratio = -1.09; 95% CI,-2.11 to -0.07; P = .0362) and agitation score (standardized mean difference = -0.67; 95% CI, -0.97 to -0.36; P < .0001) in the recovery room also significantly decreased in magnesium groups. In subgroup analyses regarding pain and laryngospasm-related measurements, local administration of magnesium was shown to be more effective at reducing postoperative morbidities. Conclusions Perioperative magnesium regardless of route may offer pain, agitation, and laryngospasm relief without adverse effects in pediatric tonsillectomy. Based on the high heterogeneity of results within some parameters, further studies need to be performed to affirm these results.

Keywords: agitation; analgesics; laryngospasm; magnesium; meta-analysis; nausea; pain; tonsillectomy; vomiting.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis

MeSH terms

  • Chemotherapy, Adjuvant
  • Child
  • Humans
  • Laryngismus / prevention & control*
  • Magnesium / administration & dosage*
  • Pain Measurement
  • Pain, Postoperative / prevention & control*
  • Postoperative Hemorrhage / prevention & control*
  • Psychomotor Agitation / prevention & control*
  • Tonsillectomy*


  • Magnesium