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July 1959

Anesthesia for Tonsillectomy and Adenoidectomy

Author Affiliations

Richmond, Va.

AMA Arch Otolaryngol. 1959;70(1):48-51. doi:10.1001/archotol.1959.00730040052008

An axiom of safe anesthesia for surgery of the oropharynx is that an endotracheal tube should be present, and that in its absence fatalities occur since encroachment of the airway is inherent in the employment of any other method. However, as a rule the endotracheal technique is not employed for tonsillectomies and adenoidectomies for several reasons.

Chief among these reasons perhaps is the fear of complications; others include the belief that the technique entails greater time and difficulties, and objections from the surgeon on the ground that it interferes with the operative procedure. It cannot be said that other methods of anesthesia for tonsillectomies and adenoidectomies are so perfect that they do not warrant improvement, for everyone associated with this type of surgery is aware of fatalities that have occurred.

Bishop1 cites 942 deaths accompanying tonsillectomies and adenoidectomies among 6,250 deaths associated with anesthesia over a nine-year period, according

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