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Acta Otorhinolaryngol Ital. 2008 Apr;28(2):67-72.

Paediatric tonsillectomy: radiofrequency-based plasma dissection compared to cold dissection with sutures.

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Department of Otorhinolaryngology, S. Eugenio Hospital, Rome, Italy.


Aim of this study was to compare post-operative recovery over 14 days in children submitted to tonsillectomy using a bipolar radiofrequency-based plasma device (Coblation, Evac 70, ArthroCare Corp, Sunnyvale, CA, USA) to cold dissection. Paediatric patients (n = 42) aged 5-16 years old with chronic tonsillitis underwent tonsillectomy using cold dissection with suture ligatures or a plasma device (Evac 70, ArthroCare Corp, Sunnyvale, CA, USA). Pain intensity on the first day, use of analgesics, type of diet, and days of pain, fever, nausea, and absence from school were determined. Groups were compared using time-to-event (Kaplan-Meier) curves and statistically evaluated using the Breslow (generalized Wilcoxon) test. Children undergoing plasma tonsillectomy reported significantly less pain on the first post-operative day (1.2 +/- 0.9 vs. 3.5 +/- 1.5, p < 0.001), fewer days of pain (4.8 +/- 1.5 vs. 9.4 +/- 1.2, p <0.001), pain medication withdrawal (2.6 +/- 1.3 vs. 4.5 +/- 1.3, p <0.001) and earlier use of liquid diet (5.1 +/- 1.4 vs. 8.5 +/- 2.1, p <0.001), and fewer school days lost (5.3 +/- 1.7 vs. 8.9 +/- 1.5, p <0.001). After completing this study, plasma tonsillectomy was adopted for the majority of cases. Benefits of the plasma device include the possibility both to excise tissue and coagulate bleeding vessels using the same device whilst improving quality of post-operative recovery over cold dissection with suture ligatures.

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