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Immediate or interval abscess tonsillectomy? A systematic review and meta-analysis.

OBJECTIVES: Peritonsillar abscess is a common complication of acute tonsillitis. However, no consensus has been reached yet on the optimal treatment of this condition. Therefore, this study aimed to compare clinical outcomes of immediate and interval abscess tonsillectomy.

METHODS: The databases of PubMed, Scopus, and Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) were searched for completed studies published until the 1st of November 2021. Comparative studies assessing intraoperative and postoperative outcomes of immediate and interval abscess tonsillectomy were considered, with the primary outcome being postoperative hemorrhage. Operative time, intraoperative blood loss, postoperative pain, and duration of hospital stay were classed as secondary outcomes. A random-effects pairwise meta-analysis of both randomized and non-randomized trials was conducted. Subgroup analysis linked to the randomization of trials was executed. Quality assessment was performed, utilizing the Cochrane risk of bias tool and ROBINS-I tool for randomized and non-randomized trials, respectively.

RESULTS: Data from 265 cases stemming from six trials were pooled together. For postoperative bleeding rates, no statistically significant difference between immediate and interval tonsillectomy was detected (OR = 1.26; 95% CI 0.27, 5.86; p = 0.77). By contrast, longer hospital stay was observed for patients subjected to interval tonsillectomy (SMD = - 0.78; CI - 1.39 to- 0.17; p = 0.01). For operative time and intraoperative blood loss, no statistically significant difference was noticed between immediate and interval tonsillectomy (SMD = 1.10; 95% CI - 0.13, 2.33; p = 0.08; and SMD = 0.04; 95% CI - 0.49, 0.57; p = 0.88; respectively).

CONCLUSIONS: This study shows that quinsy tonsillectomy appears to be a safe method, providing full abscess drainage and instant relief of the symptoms. Moreover, quinsy tonsillectomy was not associated with a statistically higher postoperative hemorrhage incidence rate than immediate tonsillectomy.

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