- Electrocautery Tonsillectomy
- Bipolar Radiofrequency (RF) Tonsillectomy
- Cold Knife Tonsillectomy
- Powered Intracapsular Tonsillectomy
- Ultrasonic Dissection Tonsillectomy
Many tonsillectomies and adenoidectomies today are performed using electrocautery. Electrocautery removes tonsils and adenoids by burning away the tissue that attaches them to the underlying throat muscles. The method is safe and effective, but the heat can cause thermal injury to surrounding tissues, resulting in more discomfort during the postoperative period.
Biopolar radiofrequency, also known as coblation, is a “gentle” way to remove both tonsils and adenoids. Radiofrequency, or RF, is a form of energy like radio waves. Bipolar RF tonsillectomy uses this energy in a carefully controlled surgical process that separates the tissues of the tonsils and adenoids while causing very little harm to the surrounding healthy tissue.
In the cold knife procedure, the surgeon removes the tonsils or adenoids completely using a scalpel. Cold knife (steel) dissection is the oldest tonsillectomy method in use today. In this subcapsular method, the tonsils and/or adenoids are removed completely using a scalpel.
The powered intracapsular method removes 90% of the tonsils, leaving a layer of tonsil tissue over the throat muscles. Powered intracapsular tonsillectomy uses a “microdebrider” to remove the tonsils or adenoids. The microdebrider is a shaving device with a small rotating tip. This method is used to perform a sub-total tonsillectomy, a technique in which a layer of tonsil tissue is left to protect the throat muscles from exposure.
Ultrasonic dissection uses high-frequency vibrations to vibrate the blade of a specially designed scalpel at high frequency. Energy is transferred from the blade of the scalpel to the tonsilar tissue to remove the tonsils or adenoids.