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Argon plasma coagulation tonsillectomy versus coblation tonsillectomy: a comparison of efficacy and safety

  • R Loh (a1), L Stepan (a1), E Zhen (a2) and C-K L Shaw (a1) (a3)



Tonsillectomy is one of the most common otolaryngological procedures. Nonetheless, there is still no universally approved ‘gold standard’ technique.


To compare the safety and efficacy of argon plasma coagulation and coblation techniques in tonsillectomy.


A multi-institutional, retrospective cohort study was conducted, comprising 283 patients who underwent bilateral tonsillectomies performed by a single surgeon between 2014 and 2017. The outcome measures included: operative time, intra-operative blood loss, post-operative pain and post-operative haemorrhage.


In the argon plasma coagulation group, mean operative time and post-operative haemorrhage rate were significantly reduced, p = 0.0006 and p = 0.003 respectively. There was no statistically significant difference between the two groups in terms of post-operative pain and intra-operative blood loss.


The argon plasma coagulation technique is easy, safe and efficacious. Argon plasma coagulation tonsillectomy seems cost-effective compared to coblation tonsillectomy: the single-use disposable electrode tip and wand used in this study cost AUD$76.50 and AUD$380 respectively. Argon plasma coagulation appears to be a favourable alternative to current modalities such as coblation.


Corresponding author

Author for correspondence: Dr Rachel Loh, Shaw House, 37 Dequetteville Terrace, Kent Town, SA 5067, Australia E-mail:


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Dr R Loh takes responsibility for the integrity of the content of the paper

Presented orally at the 17th ASEAN Otorhinolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery Congress, 16–18 November 2017, Yangon, Myanmar.



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