Benefits of tissue welding for tonsillectomies

Surgical technique helps lessen bleeding, pain; helps speed up healing

An ADC doctor says a device that allows him to weld tissue together during a tonsillectomy helps his patients endure less pain and recover much more quickly after the procedure.

Dr. Richard Bryarly, an ENT (ADC Otolaryngology), has been using the tissue-welding device over the past two years.  The tool is a forceps, but the tip of the tool uses heat to make precise incisions in a small area, causing less damage to the tissue.

A tonsillectomy may be performed to treat:

  • Recurrent infections of acute tonsillitis
  • Sleep apnea
  • Difficulty breathing or swallowing

A tonsillectomy can cause pain, bleeding, and dehydration, because patients often find it painful to swallow food and liquid.

Image from animation of tissue welding device

Image courtesy: Microline Surgical

Dr. Bryarly says he has been looking for a tool to help minimize the pain for more than 30 years.

“I’ve always been bothered by the fact that patients suffer pain from tonsillectomies,” he said. “I’ve actually had some patients admitted to the hospital so that they could get IV fluids because they were unable to swallow. I had tried a myriad of devices to decrease pain and make recovery easier but never found one that lived up to its promises.”

The new tool looks like a conventional set of forceps, but it uses direct heat at the tip to delicately cut and seal tissue. Dr. Bryarly says he was skeptical at first, but his patients have benefited greatly.

“I’m seeing a remarkable difference,” he said. “In using this device for about two years, I’ve only had one incidence of bleeding, and I think that’s because the tissue is less injured and heals up faster.”

Dr. Bryarly says patients who return to his office 10 days after a tonsillectomy are much further along in the healing process compared to before he started using the tool.

“Patients have experienced no post-operative bleeding, less pain and are getting back to their normal diets faster, particularly the younger children who can be more reluctant to eat or drink when they are in pain,” he said. “Their parents tell me that they are eating soft foods as well as drinking and I’ve had no patients admitted for dehydration since using the tool.”