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November 1973

Prevention of Primary Tonsillectomy Bleeding: An Argument for Electrocautery

Author Affiliations

Durham, NC
From the Division of Otolaryngology, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC (Dr. Williams) and McPherson Hospital, Durham, NC (Dr. Pope).

Arch Otolaryngol. 1973;98(5):306-309. doi:10.1001/archotol.1973.00780020318005

One thousand tonsillectomies performed by otolaryngologists at McPherson Hospital are reviewed. The dissection-snare technique was used, and hemostasis was maintained by electrocautery.

Cauterization of the midfossa and both poles in 500 patients resulted in an 0.2% incidence of primary bleeding compared to 2.8% found in the remaining 500 subjected to "spot" cautery. The blood supply to the tonsil and the principles and technique of electrocautery are reviewed. The conclusion is that the use of electrocautery offers an efficient and practical method to reduce the incidence of primary bleeding.