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Coblation versus BiZact extra-capsular tonsillectomy in adults: a randomized control trial.

INTRODUCTION: Tonsillectomy is a frequently performed otolaryngological procedure and is associated with significant postoperative pain and bleeding. A number of studies have investigated methods to reduce pain and bleeding. Coblation and BiZact devices have both been claimed to have favourable pain outcomes following tonsillectomy. This study was designed to investigate these two techniques in a direct comparison of postoperative pain and bleeding.

METHODS: In this single blinded, randomized control trial, 61 patients were randomly assigned to undergo tonsillectomy with either the BiZact or Coblation device. Pain scores were collected for 14 days postoperatively using a Visual Analogue Score scale. Secondary outcome data was collected for duration of surgery, intra-operative bleeding, return to normal, and secondary bleeding rates.

RESULTS: Coblation was found to have lower postoperative pain on day 1 (P < 0.05). BiZact was found to have lower postoperative pain on day 7 (P < 0.05) and day 11 (P < 0.05). Pain scores for other days were not significant. There was no significant difference in set-up time, procedural time and return to normal activities. The BiZact group had a longer time to achieve haemostasis (P < 0.001) and greater intraoperative blood loss (P < 0.01). There was a trend towards more significant secondary bleeding in the BiZact arm, however, this study was not adequately powered to assess this finding.

CONCLUSION: Both Coblation and BiZact devices appear to provide a safe and effective method for tonsillectomy in adults. Reduced pain on day 1 may make Coblation more suitable for day-case surgery.

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