Tonsillectomy and Coblation

There are times when medical therapy (antibiotics) fails to resolve a child’s chronic tonsillar infections. In other cases, your child may have enlarged tonsils, causing loud snoring, upper airway obstruction, and other sleep disorders.

The best recourse for both these conditions may be removal or reduction of the tonsils and adenoids. The American Academy of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery recommends that children who have three or more tonsillar infections a year undergo a tonsillectomy. Young patients with a sleep disorder are also candidates for removal or reduction of the enlarged tonsils.

Tonsillectomy Procedures
The first report of tonsillectomy was made by the Roman surgeon Celsus in 30 AD. He described scraping the tonsils and tearing them out or picking them up with a hook and excising them with a scalpel. Today, the scalpel is still the preferred surgical instrument of many ear, nose, and throat specialists. However, there are other procedures available—the choice may be dictated by the extent of the procedure (complete tonsil removal versus partial tonsillectomy) and other considerations such as pain and post-operative bleeding. A quick review of each procedure follows:

  • Electrocautery: Electrocautery is the most common method practiced by otolaryngologists today. In this procedure, the physician burns the tonsillar tissue and assists in reducing blood loss through cauterization.
  • Bipolar Radiofrequency Ablation (Coblation): This procedure produces an ionized saline layer that disrupts molecular bonds without using heat. As the energy is transferred to the tissue, ionic dissociation occurs. This mechanism can be used to remove all or only part of the tonsil. It is done under general anesthesia in the operating room and can be used for enlarged tonsils and chronic or recurrent infections. This causes removal of tissue with a thermal effect of 45-85 C°. The advantages of this technique are less pain, faster healing, and less post operative care.

Consult Your Doctor for the Right Treatment for Throat Pain
At the Ear, Nose and Throat Center, our Utah ENT doctors will work with you to determine the optimum procedure to remove or reduce tonsils and adenoids. Contact us at 801-328-2522 to learn more.

Hear Dr. Tagge discuss Coblation Tonsillectomy Download MP3 [26 MB]
Watch Dr. Tagge perform Tonsil and Adeniod removal by coblation (English) Download video [112 MB]
Watch Dr. Tagge perform Tonsil and Adeniod removal by coblation (Spanish) Download video [25 MB]

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