Cochrane Summaries

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Dissection versus diathermy for tonsillectomy

Pinder DK, Wilson H, Hilton MP
Published Online: 
16 March 2011

Tonsillectomy is one of the most common operations. Complications can include bleeding, during or after the operation, and pain. This review compared the effectiveness of two different surgical techniques in reducing these complications. The surgical techniques were diathermy (the use of high-frequency electrical current to cut tissue, remove the tonsil and control blood loss) and traditional cold dissection (where the tonsil is cut away and blood loss then controlled with ties, stitches or diathermy). Two studies (254 patients) are included in the review. The review of trials found that there is not enough evidence to demonstrate that diathermy is more effective than dissection. There was some evidence that patients who had diathermy tonsillectomy had less bleeding during the operation but more pain afterwards, however more research is needed.