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Pain versus bleeding risk following tonsillectomy: do patients and doctors agree?

  • T-H Low (a1), P Harris (a1), A Esterman (a2) and A S Carney (a1)



To investigate the differing opinions of patients and medical practitioners regarding the relative priorities of pain relief versus bleeding prevention following tonsillectomy.


Questionnaires were mailed out to adult patients, paediatric patients' parents, general practitioners and ENT surgeons.


A total of 72/112 (64.3 per cent) questionnaires were returned. Adult patients, paediatric patients' parents, general practitioners and ENT surgeons all ranked bleeding as the most important factor when assessing risks related to tonsillectomy. Most adult patients indicated that they would accept a bleeding risk of 2 per cent; however, parents indicated that they would accept a higher bleeding risk (3 per cent) for their children in exchange for better pain control.


Adult patients, paediatric patients' parents and doctors were slightly more inclined to ‘trade-off’ an increased post-tonsillectomy bleeding risk in exchange for better post-tonsillectomy pain control, although concerns about post-operative haemorrhage remained the main priority for all groups.


Corresponding author

Address for correspondence: A/Prof A Simon Carney, Associate Professor and Head of ENT Unit, Flinders Medical Centre, Bedford Park, SA 5042, Australia. Fax: +61 8 8219 9908 E-mail:


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