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Am J Otolaryngol. 2011 Nov-Dec;32(6):459-63. doi: 10.1016/j.amjoto.2010.09.003. Epub 2010 Oct 29.

Argon plasma coagulation versus cold dissection in pediatric tonsillectomy.

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Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Hospital of Dolo, Venice, Italy.



Argon plasma coagulation (APC) is a new surgical procedure based on a conductive plasma of ionized argon between an activating electrode and a tissue surface. It is a good alternative for tonsillectomy because of its effective hemostasis and limited penetration depth of the coagulation beam. The aim of this prospective, randomized trial was to evaluate the operative time, intraoperative bleeding, and postoperative morbidity of the "hot" APC tonsillectomy compared with a traditional "cold" dissection tonsillectomy in children.


Two hundred eighteen pediatric patients (aged 4-15 years; mean, 7,2 years) were randomized into 2 groups: treatment A (tonsillectomy with APC, n = 109) and treatment B (conventional tonsillectomy, n = 109). The outcome measures were as follows: (1) operative time, (2) intraoperative blood loss, (3) postoperative pain (evaluated using a visual analogue scale with a range score 0-10 on postoperative days 1, 3, 5, 8, and 15), and (4) postoperative primary and secondary hemorrhage. Statistical analysis was carried out using the Student t test.


In treatment A group, the mean duration of operative time and the intraoperative blood loss were significantly reduced (P < .001). There was no statistical significant difference between 2 groups in the intensity of postoperative pain and the incidence of postoperative hemorrhage (P > .05).


Argon plasma coagulation tonsillectomy in children is a new, easy, and safe technique that offers a complete eradication of the tonsillar disease, short operating time, minimal intraoperative blood loss, and a suitable cost with no additional increase in postoperative pain and hemorrhage when compared with the conventional "cold dissection."

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