Lasers in Tonsillectomy: Revisited With Systematic Review.
In 2005, the National Prospective Tonsillectomy Audit was conducted by the Royal College of Surgeons England, reporting hot tonsillectomy techniques being associated with more postoperative pain and hemorrhage when compared with dissection. In 2006, the National Institute of Clinical Excellence declared its position on laser tonsillectomy reporting that bleeding may be less intraoperatively but is more postoperatively, that initial pain may be less but medium term is more and that healing is delayed.To revisit the literature surrounding laser tonsil surgery and assess the aforementioned factors for any trend changes.A Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA)-style systematic review conducted in July 2019 searched Embase, Medline, and Cochrane databases for randomized controlled trials comparing laser tonsil surgery with other techniques with the terms laser, tonsillectomy, and tonsillotomy for nonmalignant indications. A total of 14 articles were evaluated.A total of 1133 patients received surgery accounting for a total of 2266 tonsil removals. A variety of laser techniques were used including CO2 (66%) potassium-titanyl-phosphate (19%) and contact diode (15%). Nonlaser techniques included dissection (62%), diathermy (20%), and coblation (18%). The summated conclusions suggest that laser techniques are superior regarding intraoperative bleeding and procedure duration. Laser techniques also provide equivocal or superior outcomes regarding postoperative hemorrhage, pain, and total healing time.Outcomes following laser surgery in recent years suggest an overall improvement. This could be due to enhanced familiarity with techniques and established centers performing laser procedures more routinely.