, Volume 270, Issue 1, pp 339-344
Date: 07 Jul 2012

Post-tonsillectomy hemorrhage in children: a single surgeon’s experience with coblation compared to diathermy

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The aim of this study was to compare coblation and diathermy techniques with respect to secondary post-tonsillectomy hemorrhage (PTH). A total of 1,397 children underwent tonsillectomies with or without adenoidectomy by a single surgeon in a single center from June 2005 through December 2011. A diathermy tonsillectomy was performed on 315 patients for the first 2 years, while a coblation tonsillectomy was performed on 1,082 for the next 5 years. All patients were followed-up within 28 days of surgery by the same surgeon. The characteristics of primary and secondary PTH were analyzed with a retrospective chart review. Primary PTH did not occur in both surgical technique groups. Secondary PTH occurred in 9 patients (2.9 %) in the diathermy group and in 30 patients (2.8 %) in the coblation group. The secondary PTH rates were 1.2, 2.5, 3.8, 3.1 and 4.5 % in the first, second, third, fourth and fifth years after employment of the coblation tonsillectomy, respectively (P = 0.243). Sex, age, tonsil size and severity of tonsillar embedding were not significant factors for PTH. The coblation technique was associated more with late secondary PTH than diathermy technique (odds ratio 9.14, P = 0.049). Analysis of the time of onset of PTH showed that secondary PTH occurred most commonly between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. In summary, coblation technique has similar secondary PTH rate with diathermy technique although it has increased late secondary PTH rate in children. Coblation technique can be a good alternative to the diathermy technique.