Outpatient tonsillectomy safe for most children

Kids who need their tonsils removed can be in and out of the hospital on the same day, in many cases, Spanish doctors report.

Dr. Jose Granell and colleagues at the “12 de Octubre” Hospital in Madrid reviewed the charts of 1243 children up to age 14 who underwent tonsillectomy as outpatients between 1995 and 2000.

There were no restrictions on which children could undergo the outpatient procedure according to age, weight, the reasons for the surgery, whether the tonsils were causing obstruction, or the presence of sleep apnea, the team explains in the medical journal Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery.

Complications occurred in 116 children, and discharge from the hospital was delayed for 103 of them. Major bleeding requiring return to the operating room occurred in 36.

There were complications in 13 patients once they were home, with a re-admission rate of 1 percent.

“Our data support the statement that outpatient tonsillectomy in children is a safe procedure, even with permissive inclusion criteria, when an appropriate setting is available,” Granell and his associates conclude.

SOURCE: Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery, October 2004.

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Revision date: July 5, 2011
Last revised: by Amalia K. Gagarina, M.S., R.D.