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Laryngoscope. 2005 Jan;115(1):31-3.

Postoperative tonsillectomy bleed: coblation versus noncoblation.

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Department of Otolaryngology, Henry Ford Health System, Detroit, MI 48202, USA.



To examine the incidence of postoperative bleeding after coblation and noncoblation tonsillectomy and to use postoperative bleeding as an outcome measure to determine the presence of a learning curve with this new surgical technique.


A retrospective review of records from January 1999 to April 2003 to determine type of tonsillectomy performed and the presence of postoperative bleeding. A chi-square analysis was used to determine a statistical difference between the postoperative bleed rate of coblation and noncoblation procedures. The examined time period was divided into 3-month intervals, and the coblation postoperative bleeds were tallied for each interval. The Cochraine-Armitage test of linear trend was used to assess change in the postoperative bleeds.


One thousand seven hundred sixty-two tonsillectomies were performed. The postoperative bleed rate for noncoblation tonsillectomy was 6.1% (74/1,216). The bleeding rate for coblation tonsillotomy was 5.9% (18/303) and 5.4% (13/239) for coblation tonsillectomy. There was no statistical difference (P = .93) between bleed rates for coblation versus noncoblation techniques. There was no difference in the need for operative intervention to control postoperative bleeding: 16.2% (12/74) for noncoblation technique and 25.85 (8/31) for coblation procedures (P = .25). The postoperative coblation bleed rates for the 3-month periods did not reveal an increasing or decreasing trend in the postoperative bleed rate (P = .49).


Coblation is a safe procedure for performing tonsil surgery with no significant difference in postoperative bleeding from previous techniques and no increased need for operative intervention to control postoperative bleeding. A learning curve could not be identified when using postoperative bleeding as an outcome measure for coblation tonsillectomy.

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