Complications of tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy

D. A. Randall, M. E. Hoffer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

252 Scopus citations


Adenotonsillectomy is generally safe surgery, but surgeons should be cognizant of potential complications and be prepared to manage them. Postoperative hemorrhage usually responds to local measures or cautery but can be life-threatening. Preoperative screening of coagulation profiles appears unnecessary. Anesthetic risks have declined with modern techniques, but airway risks, aspiration, and pulmonary edema are possible. Nasopharyngeal valving may be altered by velophoryngeal incompetence or nasopharyngeal stenosis. Sore throat, otalgia, fever, dehydration, and uvular edema are more common postoperative complaints. Less common complications include atlantoaxial subluxation, mandible condyle fracture, infection, eustachian tube injury, and psychological trauma. The prevalence, management, and strategies for avoidance of these are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)61-68
Number of pages8
JournalOtolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1998
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology

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