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Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2005 Feb;132(2):273-80.

Randomized controlled trial of Coblation versus electrocautery tonsillectomy.

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  • 1Division of Pediatric Otolarnygology, Lucile Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford, CA, USA.



To compare the postoperative recovery of patients receiving Coblation-assisted (Arthrocare, Sunnyvale, CA) intracapsular tonsillectomy with that of patients receiving traditional subcapsular electrocautery tonsillectomy.


This was a prospective, randomized, double-blinded, controlled study. One hundred one children, aged 2 to 16 years, were randomized to Coblation or to conventional electrocautery tonsillectomy. Only patients with the operative indication of obstructive sleep apnea were entered into the study. Intracapsular tonsillectomy was performed on the Coblation group, and traditional subcapsular dissection was performed on the electrocautery group. Adenoidectomy was performed with the curette in both groups. Outcome measures were assessed on days 1, 3, and 5 after surgery. These included child and parental rating of pain by using the Wong Faces pain scale, analgesic use, oral intake, and activity level. Patients, parents, and the nurse practitioner obtaining the outcome data were blinded to treatment arm.


Treatment groups were similar in age, gender, and weight. Surgical time and estimated blood loss were similar. There were no complications in either group. Coblation patients had less pain and greater oral intake at all 3 time points. Percentage of normal activity level returned to >70% earlier and more frequently in Coblation patients. There was slightly decreased analgesic use on postoperative day 5 in the Coblation group.


Children with obstructive sleep apnea undergoing tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy demonstrate significantly better postoperative recovery after Coblation-assisted intracapsular tonsillectomy.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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