Tonsillectomy and Sinus Surgery With a Microdebrider
A microdebrider offer the surgeon more exact control over the process of removing delicate tissues during tonsillectomy and sinus surgery. Also, by combining the functions of holding and cutting tissues while suctioning, it speeds the operation by reducing the need for separate instruments.
Tonsillectomy procedures are quite common– They are performed on nearly 400,000 patients each year in the United States. Tonsils are often removed from children. In many cases, this procedure is the preferred treatment for infection in and around the throat, especially when it leads to chronic obstruction of the airway. Microdebrider tonsillectomy is rapidly gaining in popularity over traditional tonsillectomy procedures, due to the speed and selectivity that it offers.
Traditional Tonsillectomy Versus Microdebrider Tonsillectomy
Traditional tonsillectomy involves completely removing the capsule around the tonsil; this procedure exposes blood vessels, nerves and throat muscles. Bleeding is usually controlled by electrocautery. After traditional surgery, many patients experience significant swelling and pain, and complications may also arise as a result of patients’ inability or refusal to eat and hydrate after surgery. Children may be disproportionately affected by such complications.
According to a landmark 2005 study published in the Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery periodical, researchers concluded that endoscopic microdebriders worked well for partial tonsillectomy, with the benefits of reduced pain and faster recovery. The technique used in the study, powered intracapsular tonsillectomey and adenoidectomy (PITA), involves removing as much as 95% of the tonsils while the capsule is left nearly intact in order to protect nerves, blood vessels and muscles.
In the study, care providers recorded the levels of pain reported by patients, the dosages of pain medication administered to them, and the length of time until the patient returned to normal activity and diet after the procedure. The researchers concluded that when partial tonsillectomies were performed with microdebriders, patients were far less likely to require analgesics three days after surgery, and were far more likely to have already returned to their normal daily activities, than were patients who received treatment without using microdebriders.
Microdebriders for Sinus Surgery
Sinusitis is a common, widespread condition that reduces quality of life for a large number of sufferers worldwide. In the United States, an estimated 40 million Americans are affected by recurring sinusitis. Sinusitis is responsible for a significant burden in healthcare costs. Although sinusitis generally responds well to medications, approximately ten percent of those suffering from chronic sinusitis will eventually seek relief through surgery. Since traditional sinus surgery relies on external incisions, and the nasal cavity must be packed, the procedure can be especially burdensome for patients; many experience pain and bruising for several weeks after surgery.
According to Dr. Steven Pletcher of the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery of the University of California, the advantage of using a microdebrider for tonsillectomy and sinus surgery is that the instrument can be operated with a single hand, since both suctioning and cutting are performed by the same tool. He reported that microdebriders offer the depth of reach necessary for surgery in the sinus cavity.