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JAMA Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2014 Mar;140(3):197-202. doi: 10.1001/jamaoto.2013.6215.

Safety of adult tonsillectomy: a population-level analysis of 5968 patients.

Author information

1
Department of Surgery, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut.
2
Department of Surgery, Duke University School of Medicine, Durham, North Carolina.

Abstract

IMPORTANCE:

Tonsillectomy is one of the most commonly performed otolaryngology procedures. The safety of this procedure in adults is based on small case series. To our knowledge, we report the first population-level analysis of the safety of adult tonsillectomies in the United States.

OBJECTIVE:

To characterize the mortality, complication, and reoperation rate in adult tonsillectomy.

DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS:

Retrospective cohort study of 5968 adult patients who underwent tonsillectomy with records in the database of the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (2005 to 2011).

INTERVENTION:

Tonsillectomy.

MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES:

Outcomes of interest included mortality, complications, and reoperation in the 30-day postoperative period. Statistical analysis included χ² test, t test, and multivariate logistic regression.

RESULTS:

The 30-day mortality rate was 0.03%, the complication rate was 1.2%, and the reoperation rate was 3.2%. Most patients had a primary diagnosis of chronic tonsillitis and/or adenoiditis (82.9%), and the most common complications were pneumonia (27% of all complications), urinary tract infection (27%), and superficial site infections (16%). Patients who underwent reoperation were more likely to be male (54.0% vs 32.4%; P < .001), white (84.8% vs 75.3%; P = .02), or inpatients (24.3% vs 14.3%; P < .001) and to have postoperative complications (5.3% vs 1.1%; P < .001) than those who did not return to the operating room. On multivariate analysis, male sex (odds ratio [OR], 2.30 [95% CI, 1.67-3.15]), inpatient status (OR, 1.52 [95% CI, 1.04-2.22]), and the presence of a postoperative complication (OR, 4.58 [95% CI, 2.11-9.93]) were independent risk factors for reoperation.

CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE:

In the United States, adult tonsillectomy is a safe procedure with low rates of mortality and morbidity. The most common posttonsillectomy complications were infectious in etiology, and complications were independently associated with the need for reoperation.

PMID:
24481159
DOI:
10.1001/jamaoto.2013.6215
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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