Objectives: We compared operating time, intraoperative blood loss, and rate of postoperative bleeding in harmonic scalpel (HS) tonsillectomy using the curved shears instrument to those in cold dissection (CD) tonsillectomy. Methods: The charts of 560 patients who underwent tonsillectomy were retrospectively reviewed. Three hundred nineteen patients underwent CD tonsillectomy between the years 1998 and 1999, and 241 patients underwent HS tonsillectomy using the curved shears instrument between the years 2001 and 2005. For the purpose of evaluation of postoperative bleeding rates, the groups were further stratified by age (11 years of age or less versus 12 years of age or more). Results: For the HS group, the mean operating time was shorter (7 minutes versus 17.57 minutes) and the intraoperative blood loss was lower (0 mL versus 42.12 mL). These differences were statistically significant (p < .05). There was no significant difference in the overall postoperative bleeding rates between the two groups. The postoperative bleeding rate in the HS patients 11 years of age or younger was lower than that in the equivalent age group in the CD group (0.56% versus 2%, respectively), although this difference did not reach statistical significance. The postoperative bleeding rate in the HS patients 12 years of age or older was significantly higher than that in the equivalent age group in the CD group (7.93% versus 1%, respectively; p < .05). Conclusions: Harmonic scalpel tonsillectomy using the curved shears instrument offers advantages over CD tonsillectomy regarding operating time and intraoperative blood loss. In our patients more than 12 years of age, HS tonsillectomy using the curved shears instrument was associated with an increased postoperative bleeding rate compared to CD tonsillectomy.
- Harmonic scalpel
- Postoperative complication