Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa

Post-tonsillectomy morbidity statistics: are they underestimated?

  • J Doshi (a1), M Damadora (a1), S Gregory (a1) and S Anari (a1)

Post-tonsillectomy morbidity statistics are obtained when patients present to hospital with complications. The two common morbidities are pain and haemorrhage. Hospital-recorded morbidity rates may be an underestimation, as some patients are treated by general practitioners and are therefore not included in hospital audits.


Prospective, cohort, questionnaire study to assess: the post-tonsillectomy haemorrhage rate (i.e. actual rate versus hospital recorded rate); and the number of patients with post-operative pain and/or bleeding who were treated with antibiotics by their general practitioner.


The response rate was 76 per cent (70/92). The actual rate of secondary haemorrhage was three times that noted in the hospital records (15.7 vs 5.7 per cent, respectively). Fifteen patients (21 per cent) required extra analgesia after discharge. General practitioners prescribed antibiotics for pain alone in six patients (11 per cent).


The actual post-tonsillectomy haemorrhage rate is much higher than that recorded in hospital statistics. General practitioners differ in their treatment of post-tonsillectomy patients presenting with pain alone; some prescribe antibiotics in addition to analgesia.

Corresponding author
Address for correspondence: Mr Jayesh Doshi, Apartment 20, Adderstone Court, 17 Adderstone Crescent, Jesmond, Newcastle upon Tyne NE2 2EA, UK. Fax: 01706 646734 E-mail:
Hide All

Presented as a poster at the North of England ENT Society meeting, 10 March 2006, York, and at the 12th British Academy Conference in Otolaryngology and ENT Expo meeting, 5–7 July 2006, Birmingham, UK. Oral Presentation at the Midlands Insitute of Otology meeting 5 January 2007, Sloke-on-Trent, UK.

Linked references
Hide All

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.

6 S Handler , L Miller , K Richmond , C Baranak . Post-tonsillectomy haemorrhage: incidence, prevention and management. Laryngoscope 1986;96:1243–7

7 M Colreavy , D Nanan , M Benamer , M Donnelly , A Blaney , T O'Dwyer Antibiotic prophylaxis post-tonsillectomy: is it of benefit? Int J Paed Otolaryngol 1999;50:1522

8 R Gaffney , M Cafferkey . Bacteriology of normal and diseased tonsils assessed by fine needle aspiration: Haemophilus influenzae and the pathogenesis of recurrent acute tonsillitis. Clin Otolaryngol 1998;23:181–5

9 S Telian , S Handler , G Fleisher , C Baranak , R Wetmore , W Potsic . The effect of antibiotic therapy on recovery after tonsillectomy in children. Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg 1986;112:610–15

10 WC Lee , MC Duignan , RM Walsh , JR McRae-Moore . An audit of prophylactic antibiotic treatment following tonsillectomy in children. J Laryngol Otol 1996;110:357–9

11 R Benson-Mitchell , A Maw . Assessment of sequelae at home following adenotonsillectomy. A basis for day-case management? Clin Otolaryngol 1993;18:282–4

12 V Raut . Bipolar scissors versus cold dissection tonsillectomy: a prospective, randomised, multi-unit study. Laryngoscope 2001;111:2178–82

13 H Valtonen , Y Qvarnberg , K Blomgren . Patient contact with healthcare professsionals after elective tonsillectomy. Acta Otolaryngol 2004;124:1086–9

14 T Jones , R Temple , P Morar , N Roland , J Rogers . General practitioner consultations after a paediatric tonsillectomy. Int J Paed Otolaryngol 1997;39:97102

15 P Murthy , MR Laing . Dissection tonsillectomy: pattern of postoperative pain, medication and resumption of normal activity. J Laryngol Otol 1998;112:41–4

16 CE Palme , P Tomasevic , DV Pohl . Evaluating the effects of oral prednisolone on recovery after tonsillectomy: a prospective, double blind, randomized trial. Laryngoscope 2000;110:2000–4

17 A Toma , J Blanshard , N Eyon-Lewis , M Bridger . Post tonsillectomy pain: the first ten days. J Laryngol Otol 1995:109:963–4

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

The Journal of Laryngology & Otology
  • ISSN: 0022-2151
  • EISSN: 1748-5460
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-laryngology-and-otology
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *



Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 1
Total number of PDF views: 12 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 57 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 20th September 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.