DA Randall , ME Hoffer
Complications of Tonsillectomy and Adenoidectomy
Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg 118 : 61-68, 1998
Although improvements in anesthetic and surgical techniques have made tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy safe, serious complications and even death are still possible. These complications were reviewed.
Mortality associated with these procedures now ranges between 1 in 16,000 to l in 35,000 cases. Most deaths are from haemorrhage and anesthetic complications. Local measures and cautery are effective in treating hemorrhage, preoperative screening of coagulation profiles do not seem necessary. Anesthetic risks have declined with modern techniques, airway risks, aspiration and pulmonary edema still occur, more common sequelae are sore throat, otalgia, fever, dehydration and uvular edema. Less common are atlantoaxial subluxation, mandible condyle fracture, infection, eustachian tube injury and psychological trauma.
Clinicians must be aware of the associated anatomy and physiology and be prepared for these potential complications.