Skip to main content
Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2022

Complications of canine tonsillectomy by clamping technique combined with monopolar electrosurgery - a retrospective study of 39 cases

Turkki, Outi Marita; Bergman, Caroline Elisabeth; Lee, Marcel H.; Hoglund, Odd Viking


Canine tonsillectomy is performed due to acute or chronic tonsillitis, neoplasia, trauma or occasionally brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome. Several tonsillectomy techniques are used but information about surgical complications is scarce. This retrospective study of patient records at the University Animal Hospital aimed to investigate complications related to canine tonsillectomy performed by 20-min clamping combined with monopolar electrosurgery.

Inclusion criteria were bilateral tonsillectomy performed with “20-min clamping technique combined with monopolar electrosurgery without suture or ligation”. Exclusion criteria were unilateral tonsillectomy, tonsillar neoplasia, additional surgical procedures other than tonsillectomy, cases where sutures were used initially, and cases where unspecified or other methods of tonsillectomy were used. The search of the patient records of the University Animal Hospital included a 10-year period. Complications that required additional anaesthesia were defined as major complications. Minor complications were handled during surgery or after surgery without surgical intervention.

Of 39 dogs that fulfilled the inclusion criteria, 11 dogs had complications and out of those 1 dog had two complications. Altogether, of the 12 complications, 2 were classified as major complications and 10 as minor.

The most frequent complication was bleeding from the surgical site, in total 11 incidences; 10 dogs had an incidence of bleeding and out of those, 1 dog bled twice, both during and after surgery. Of these 10 dogs that bled, seven incidences of bleeding occurred during surgery and four incidences occurred after surgery. The two dogs with major complications were re-anaesthetized due to bleeding after surgery. No lethal complications occurred and all dogs survived to discharge.

Bleeding during and after surgery was a common complication in dogs after bilateral tonsillectomy using “20-min clamping technique combined with monopolar electrocautery”. Revision intervention was often needed, sometimes urgently. Although no comparison was made with another technique, the studied technique should be used with caution.


Canine tonsillectomy; Dog tonsillectomy; Tonsillectomy complication; Tonsillar bleeding; Tonsillar haemorrhage; Tonsillectomy technique

Published in

BMC Veterinary Research
2022, Volume: 18, number: 1, article number: 242