Removing the tonsils has remained for many years one of the most common surgical procedures performed on children. The main concern following tonsillectomy is the intense post operative pain , that in many children can lead to inability to swallow liquids and food and in some cases cause dehydration. In the past, surgeons would remove tonsils with sharp surgical tools, and control the subsequent bleeding by tying the vessels in the tonsil bed. This was a tedious and time consuming process. With the advent of the electrical cautery, a hand held device that cuts tissue and stops bleeding with electrical heat, tonsillectomy became a much quicker and simpler procedure to perform. Today, it is the most widely used technique. However, the heat produced by the cautery penetrates the surrounding tissues and causes a burn, which results in intense post operative pain, bad breath, and scabs in the mouth. It also prolongs the healing process , which takes up to 2 weeks.
Due to the high volume of procedures done, many new technologies were introduced in the last 10 years to enable surgeons to remove tonsils easily and safely, but to decrease the post operative pain. These new devices use different types of energy in the mouth, which are supposed to deliver less heat to the surrounding tissue and decrease the resulting trauma and burn. They include the harmonic scalpel, coblator, plasma knife and laser. Results so far have been inconclusive.
Having performed hundreds of tonsillectomies using different techniques at Children’s Hospital of Michigan, Dr. Shinhar and his colleges decided to take a fresh look at this issue. They determined that since all current techniques utilize some form of energy in the mouth and therefore cause a painful burn, it was clear that using NO energy at all would result in much less pain. They went back to the old time tested techniques of dissecting the tonsils with special scalpels, but to control the bleeding we used a new, cutting edge HEMOSTATIC SEALANT, Floseal. This is a specially made substance that, when applied to a bleeding surface, stops all bleeding and promotes natural clotting. This new surgical approach resulted in a quick, safe procedure, with an almost painless recovery. Healing is much faster and usually takes 3-4 days, without any of the common adverse effects mentioned before. Also, the well known complication of late post surgical bleeding is virtually eliminated.
Over the last 5 years Dr. Shinhar has refined and perfected this technique, and performed hundreds of procedures with excellent results and no complications. He is currently conducting a large scale study at the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary to demonstrate this revolutionary surgical approach. Children and parents alike are often surprised by the quick, almost painless recovery, and are instructed to eat and drink without any restrictions immediately following surgery.
If your child needs to have the tonsils removed, you should inquire about the surgical technique used. Dr. Shinhar's unique painless tonsillectomy will assure the least pain and the quickest recovery.