Replay of: Advanced Pediatric Tonsillectomy Procedure Performed Live
at Georgetown University Hospital
First Seen: February 23, 2004
Noon EST (17:00 UTC)
WASHINGTON, D.C.— An Internet audience was able to view a live
tonsillectomy procedure, called Coblation®, performed on a pediatric
patient by Dr. Earl Harley, Associate Professor and Attending Pediatric
Otolaryngologist at Georgetown University Hospital on Monday, February
23 at 12:00 p.m. (noon) Eastern Standard Time (9:00 a.m. Pacific Standard
Derived from the words “controlled ablation,” Coblation
uses radiofrequency energy to convert saline solution into a precisely
focused plasma. The energized particles in this plasma have sufficient
energy to break molecular bonds, excising or dissolving soft tissue
at relatively low temperatures (typically 40°C to 70°C), thereby
preserving the integrity of surrounding healthy tissue.
An electrocautery device called a “bovie” is the device
most commonly used to remove tonsils. Bovies use high temperatures (400°C
to 600°C) to remove tissue, which burns and chars surrounding tissue,
and frequently leads to significant post-operative pain and long recovery
“I switched from the bovie technique to Coblation for tonsillectomy
because I found that my patients experience less post-operative pain
and a quicker post-operative recovery time with this newer technique,”
said Dr. Harley. “Following the procedure, patients have been
able to eat and drink just a few hours after surgery, requiring less
pain medication and allowing them to return to their normal activities
A camera crew staffed this Web cast with complete access to the operating
theater and live audio featured from within the operating room. While
Dr. Harley performed the surgery, Dr. Norman Sanders, Medical Director
for ArthroCare Corporation, the company that manufactures the Coblation
devices, provided additional commentary on the procedure and handled
e-mail questions from viewers.
Tonsils are oval-shaped masses of lymphatic tissue located at the back
of the throat which aid the body in fighting infections. Approximately
500,000 tonsillectomies are performed on children each year, making
it the second most common childhood surgery performed in the United
States. Although tonsils may need to be removed because of repeated
infections, they are more likely to be taken out because they’ve
grown too large for the child’s airway, which can result in snoring
and other breathing disorders and may affect quality of sleep.
The month of February is Kid’s ENT month, sponsored by the American
Academy of Otolaryngology, a time to educate parents and physicians
about the most common childhood illnesses of the ear, nose and throat.
Considering the prevalence of tonsillectomies each year, advanced procedures
such as Coblation, which have demonstrated improved clinical outcomes
for children, are important to highlight.
The Food and Drug Administration cleared for use in tonsillectomy and
adenoidectomy procedures in July 2001. Since the first Coblation tonsillectomy
was performed in January 2000, physicians have performed more than 80,000
For more information, contact:
Georgetown University Hospital
Timms MS, Temple RH. Coblation Tonsillectomy: a double blind randomized
controlled study. The Journal of Laryngology & Otology, 2002: 116:
The webcast uses Realplayer
to display both video and synchronized slides in side by side windows.
Viewers can download
a free copy of the player here.
It is not necessary to purchase any of Real's premium players or subscription
plans. The free basic player is all that is required to view the surgery.