A three-year retrospective study was performed on 494 patients to compare the effects of two techniques of tonsillectomy, with respect to rates of postoperative bleeding. One surgeon performed primarily mechanical dissections, while the other primarily performed electrocautery dissections. Intraoperative blood loss was assessed and correlated to the age and gender of the patient and to the size of the tonsil. Postoperative bleeding was seen in 2.8% of patients who underwent electrocautery tonsillectomy and in 7.6% of patients who underwent mechanical tonsillectomies. Patients undergoing electrocautery dissection lost an average of 37 ml of blood intraoperatively, whereas those undergoing mechanical dissection lost 105 ml. Mechanical tonsillectomies exhibited higher intraoperative blood loss than electrocautery tonsillectomies. A higher rate of postoperative bleeding was seen in mechanical tonsillectomies, but this difference was lost when peritonsillar abscesses were removed from the study.
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