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Radiofrequency volume tissue reduction of the tonsils: Case report and histopathologic findings

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August 1, 2004
by Alyssa R. Terk, MD; Steven B. Levine, MD
Innovative new techniques to resect tonsillar tissue have been described in the recent literature. We report the case of a patient who underwent volume reduction of tonsillar tissue by radiofrequency energy under local anesthesia in an office setting. Treatment resulted in a reduction of tonsillar size with minimal pain, which can be attributed to the avoidance of mucosal interruption. The patient subsequently underwent standard tonsillectomy, which allowed us to examine the histopathology of the tissue that was treated with radiofrequency. In doing so, we noted an absence of fibrosis and preservation of normal histologic architecture. We conclude that performing volume reduction of tonsillar tissue by applying radiofrequency energy to the stroma of the tonsils without temperature control results in objective improvement in airway size with minimal effects on the histopathology of the tonsillar stroma. Mucosa-sparing tonsillar reduction may be a preferable alternative to other techniques of tonsillar reduction, especially for young children, who would experience a nearly pain-free procedure.

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