There have been many attempts at identifying substances and describing methods that would assist the surgeon and be of benefit to the patient undergoing a tonsillectomy. The use of bismuth subgallate as a haemostatic adjunct during tonsillectomy has only been described previously in retrospective studies. A controlled prospective randomized trial of 100 paediatric patients, in which 50 patients had a tonsillectomy performed using bismuth subgallate as a haemostatic agent and in which the remainder did not have any associated haemostatic substance, is presented here.
Data on 72 patients was analysed, 39 patients belonging to the bismuth subgallate group and the remaining 33 to the control group. The time for haemostasis was three to 18 (mean 7.8) minutes in the bismuth group. It was four to 16 (mean 9.9) minutes in the non-bismuth group. These figures are statistically significant.
The range of ties used in the bismuth group was none to three (mean 1.5) ties and one to seven (mean 3.4) ties in the non-bismuth group. These figures are also statistically significant. The remainder of the recorded parameters did not differ significantly.
It was found that bismuth subgallate/adrenaline paste decreases operating time by significantly reducing the haemostasis time and the number of ties required but does not decrease post-operative morbidity.