Surgeon Preference on Sending Routine Tonsillectomy Specimens for Pathological Evaluation.

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INTRODUCTION: Despite the presence of a growing body of literature suggesting cost-ineffectiveness of routine pathologic analysis of tonsillectomy specimens, little is known about common institutional policies and practice patterns of pediatric otolaryngologists. The objectives of this study were to determine the prevalence of routine pathological evaluation of tonsillectomy specimens for uncomplicated pediatric adenotonsillectomy procedures and to evaluate opinions regarding this controversy among board-certified pediatric otolaryngologists.

METHODS: This was a cross-sectional survey study sent to board-certified pediatric otolaryngologists currently practicing and registered with the American Society of Pediatric Otolaryngology (ASPO) assessing their institutions' or practices' current policies on sending routine tonsillectomy specimens for pathology, their experience with this practice, and their opinions on whether routine pathologic analysis should be employed. Basic statistical analysis was then conducted.

RESULTS: Respondents mostly practiced in an academic setting (68.4%), with the next most common being academically affiliated private practice (21.8%), and private practice was the least common (9.8%). Most respondents (85.1%) did not agree with routine pathologic analysis of otherwise uncomplicated pediatric tonsillectomy specimens.

CONCLUSION: Most pediatric otolaryngologists who responded to this survey do not support routine pathological analysis of otherwise uncomplicated pediatric tonsillectomy specimens. However, the results are likely biased and should be interpreted carefully, since only a small percentage of pediatric otolaryngologists responded to the survey. Potential cost savings could be seen by patients, payers, and hospital systems with judicious use of surgical pathology, specifically in cases with concurrent signs or symptoms suspicious for malignancy.

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Medicine and Health Sciences




Department of Surgery

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