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Intracapsular Tonsillectomy Linked to Fewer Complications

Tissue-sparing procedure may have lower risk of bleeding and pain than traditional tonsillectomy

THURSDAY, Sept. 20 (HealthDay News) -- The incidence of post-operative complications, such as severe bleeding and pain, is significantly lower with intracapsular tonsillectomy than with traditional tonsillectomy, according to the results of a study published in the September issue of the Archives of Otolaryngology -- Head & Neck Surgery.

Richard Schmidt, M.D., of the Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, Del., and colleagues reviewed the medical records of 2,944 patients, including 1,212 who underwent traditional tonsillectomy and 1,731 who underwent intracapsular tonsillectomy, which preserves the tonsil capsule.

Compared to the intracapsular tonsillectomy group, the researchers found that the traditional tonsillectomy group had higher incidences of delayed hemorrhage that required treatment in the operating room (2.1 percent versus 0.5 percent), and pain or dehydration that required treatment in an emergency department (5.4 percent versus 3 percent).

"The ideal tonsillectomy would have minimal or no risks and be completely effective," the authors write. "Although the risks for intracapsular tonsillectomy are lower than those for traditional tonsillectomy, the procedure is not always effective. Eleven patients required revision tonsillectomy in the intracapsular tonsillectomy group compared with none in the traditional tonsillectomy group. However, an additional surgical procedure (including control of hemorrhage in the operating room) may be more likely with traditional tonsillectomy than with intracapsular tonsillectomy."

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