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Guillotine tonsillectomy: a neglected technique

  • V S Sunkaraneni (a1), H Ismail-Koch (a2), R J Salib (a2) and P K Jain (a3)

Increased post-operative tonsillectomy haemorrhage rates have been observed following ‘hot’ tonsillectomy techniques, compared with ‘cold steel’ dissection. Post-tonsillectomy haemorrhage rates and the degree of blood loss during guillotine tonsillectomy have not been reported in the recent literature.


This retrospective case note review assessed the degree of blood loss during guillotine tonsillectomy, as measured by the number of tonsil swabs used, and the post-tonsillectomy haemorrhage rate.


In a group of 168 patients, no tonsil swabs were used in 13.1 per cent of cases, and less than two tonsil swabs were used in 41.1 per cent of cases.


Guillotine tonsillectomy, when performed by the method described in this article, resulted in minimal intra-operative blood loss in 54 per cent of cases, and appeared to have comparable post-tonsillectomy haemorrhage rates to cold steel dissection techniques.

Corresponding author
Address for correspondence: Mr Parmod K Jain, ENT Department, Poole Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Poole BH15 2JB, UK. Fax: +44 (0)1202 448410 E-mail:
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VS Sunkaraneni & H Ismail-Koch are the joint first authors.

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This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

1 D Lowe , J van der Meulen , D Cromwell , J Lewsey , L Copley , J Browne Key messages from the National Prospective Tonsillectomy Audit. Laryngoscope 2007;117:717–24

4 SA Friedberg . The evolution of the tonsillotome. Ann Otol Rhinol Laryngol 1914;23:293303

7 C Roberts , S Jayaramachandran , CH Raine . A prospective study of factors which may predispose to post-operative tonsillar fossa haemorrhage. Clin Otolaryngol 1992;17:1317

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The Journal of Laryngology & Otology
  • ISSN: 0022-2151
  • EISSN: 1748-5460
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-laryngology-and-otology
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