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Overnight in-hospital observation following tonsillectomy: retrospective study of post-operative intervention

  • S Morris (a1), E Hassin (a2) and M Borschmann (a2)
Abstract Objective:

The safety of day-case tonsillectomy is widely documented in the literature; however, there are no evidence-based guidelines recommending patient characteristics that are incompatible with day-case tonsillectomy. This study aimed to identify which patients should be considered unsafe for day-case tonsillectomy based on the likelihood of needing critical intervention.


Retrospective review of 2863 tonsillectomy procedures performed at University Hospital Geelong from 1998 to 2014.


Of the patients, 7.81 per cent suffered a post-tonsillectomy complication and 4.15 per cent required intervention. The most serious complications, haemorrhage requiring a return to the operating theatre and airway compromise, occurred in 0.56 per cent and 0.11 per cent of patients respectively. The following patient characteristics were significantly associated with poorer outcomes: age of two years or less (p < 0.01), tonsillectomy indicated for neoplasm (p < 0.01) and quinsy (p < 0.05).


The authors believe that all elective tonsillectomy patients should be considered for day-case surgery, with the following criteria necessitating overnight observation: age of two years or less; an indication for tonsillectomy of neoplasm or quinsy; and an American Society of Anesthesia score of more than 2.

Corresponding author
Address for correspondence: Mr Simon Morris, 3 Orchard Grove, Morganstown, Cardiff CF15 8LS, Wales, UK E-mail:
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Presented at the 7th Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh All Wales Medical and Dental Student Surgical Research Symposium, 28 October 2016, Port Talbot, Wales, UK.

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  • EISSN: 1748-5460
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