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Risk of reoperation after tonsillotomy versus tonsillectomy: a population-based cohort study.

Journal article
Authors Erik Odhagen
Ola Sunnergren
Claes Hemlin
Anne-Charlotte Hessén Söderman
Elisabeth Ericsson
Joacim Stalfors
Published in European archives of oto-rhino-laryngology : official journal of the European Federation of Oto-Rhino-Laryngological Societies (EUFOS) : affiliated with the German Society for Oto-Rhino-Laryngology - Head and Neck Surgery
Volume 273
Issue 10
Pages 3263–3268
ISSN 1434-4726
Publication year 2016
Published at Institute of Clinical Sciences, Department of Otorhinolaryngology
Pages 3263–3268
Language en
Keywords Tonsillotomy, Tonsillectomy, Tonsil surgery, Regrowth, Reoperation
Subject categories Otorhinolaryngology


Tonsil surgery to address upper airway obstruction in children can be performed either as a tonsillectomy (TE) or as a tonsillotomy/intracapsular/partial tonsillectomy (TT). The advantage of TT is a decreased risk of postoperative morbidity. The disadvantage is the risk of tonsil regrowth with recurrence of symptoms and/or problems with future tonsil infections, which may demand a reoperation of the tonsils. The aim of this study is to compare the risk of reoperation of the tonsils following TE and TT in children with tonsil-related upper airway obstruction. This is a retrospective register-based cohort study of the Swedish National Patient Register. All children aged 1-12 years who underwent TE or TT from 2007 to 2012 for the main indication of upper airway obstruction were included in the study. The unique Personal Identity numbers were used to follow patients over time in the register and identify additional tonsil surgery. A total of 27,535 patients were included in the study, contributing 76,054 person-years of follow-up. A total of 684 patients (2.5 %) underwent a second tonsil surgery during follow-up. The incidences of reoperation were 1.94 per 1000 person-years in the TE group and 16.34 per 1000 person-years in the TT group. The risk for reoperation was seven times higher (HR 7.16) after TT compared to TE. Younger age was significantly associated with reoperation for both TE and TT and the difference in risk between TE and TT gradually decreased with time. The most common indication for reoperation after both TE and TT was "Upper airway obstruction".

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