Comparison of intraoperative bleeding between microdebrider intracapsular tonsillectomy and electrocautery tonsillectomy

Carolyn V. Nguyen, Sanjay R. Parikh, John P. Bent

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Objectives: We sought to assess the quantity of intraoperative bleeding from microdebrider intracapsular tonsillectomy (IT) relative to electrocautery tonsillectomy (ET). Methods: Intraoperative tonsil bleeding was measured prospectively for all children younger than 19 years of age who underwent primary tonsillectomy for recurrent tonsillitis or adenotonsillar hypertrophy at a tertiary care academic children's hospital. We performed IT in 57 patients (33 male, 24 female; mean age, 64.3 months) and ET in 51 patients (20 male, 31 female; mean age, 92.4 months). Results: Microdebrider IT resulted in more intraoperative bleeding than ET (27.9 versus 8.7 mL, p = 0.003; and 1.2 versus 0.2 mL/kg, p < 0.001). The median and maximum blood losses, respectively, were 0.6 and 9.5 mL/kg for IT and 0 and 2.0 mL/kg for ET. Blood loss for ET was not related to whether a resident versus an attending physician was the operating surgeon (p = 0.11). A linear regression model did not demonstrate greater bleeding with recurrent tonsillitis (IT, p = 0.39; ET, p = 0.89) or with increased patient age (IT, p = 0.08; ET, p = 0.62). Conclusions: Microdebrider IT produces more intraoperative bleeding than ET. The difference in blood loss is statistically but not clinically significant. Microdebrider IT causes bleeding within acceptable limits, and thus patients and physicians should not be discouraged from choosing this procedure solely on the basis of the amount of intraoperative blood loss.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)698-702
Number of pages5
JournalAnnals of Otology, Rhinology and Laryngology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2009


  • Electrocautery tonsillectomy
  • Intracapsular tonsillectomy
  • Microdebrider tonsillectomy
  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • Surgical blood loss
  • Tonsillar hypertrophy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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