Partial tonsillectomy (“tonsillotomy,” “intracapsular tonsillectomy” or “subtotal tonsillectomy”) was commonplace until the 1930s, when the procedure was largely replaced by complete tonsillectomy for a variety of reasons, including concerns about possible regrowth and effects of retained tonsil tissue. Since the late 1980s, there has been renewed interest in partial tonsillectomy, particularly in the treatment of children with obstructive symptoms.
Numerous studies have compared surgical techniques, and analyzed perioperative morbidity and recovery after partial versus total tonsillectomy. The evidence consistently shows that partial tonsillectomy—whatever technique is used—has lower morbidity and equivalent or easier recovery than total tonsillectomy. However, the question remains: Is partial tonsillectomy as effective as total tonsillectomy for patients with airway obstruction? That is the aim of this brief review.
Based upon the available evidence, partial tonsillectomy is equivalent to total tonsillectomy for the treatment of obstructive symptoms in children; however, the outcomes are not standardized and many studies are limited. Read the full article in The Laryngoscope.