OBJECTIVE: Ionized field ablation, or coblation-assisted subtotal tonsillectomy, has been described as a new alternative technique for the management of tonsillar disease. This study was designed to review the incidence of complications in patients undergoing this procedure. STUDY DESIGN: A 10-surgeon retrospective chart review of the intraoperative and postoperative complications of patients undergoing ionized field ablation subtotal removal of tonsils was performed. Postoperative pain, dietary restrictions, and activity level were not reviewed. RESULTS: Of the 528 patients who underwent ionized field ablation of their tonsils, the incidence of intraoperative and postoperative complications compared favorably with those reported in retrospective studies in the literature for traditional subcapsular tonsillectomy. Significant postoperative bleeding occurred in less than 1%, and only 1 patient required surgical control of bleeding in the operating room. No patients required transfusions of any blood products. CONCLUSIONS: Ionized field ablation subtotal tonsillectomy may offer an alternative to traditional subcapsular tonsillar surgery with a decreased incidence of postoperative complications. Further study is necessary to establish the complication rate of this technique.
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