Objective To perform a systematic literature review and data synthesis of level-1 evidence comparing recovery-related outcomes after intracapsular tonsillectomy (IT) (any technique) with those of total tonsillectomy (TT) (any technique) in a pediatric population.
Data Sources Two independent reviewers searched the following databases: Ovid MEDLINE, including old MEDLINE and pre-MEDLINE, EBM reviews, Books@Ovid and Journals@Ovid, the Web of Science with Conference Proceedings, and references from indexed articles.
Study Selection Inclusion criteria were randomized controlled trials conducted on a pediatric population comparing IT performed by any technique of dissection with TT, also performed by any technique of dissection. Two independent reviewers determined included trials with difference of opinion resolved by a third reviewer.
Data Extraction Independent data extraction by 2 reviewers on the following outcomes: postoperative pain, analgesic use, recovery time, diet, bleeding rate, infection, and regrowth rate requiring further surgical intervention.
Data Synthesis Heterogeneity of outcome measures and lack of reporting of raw data precluded formal meta-analysis. For quantitative data that could be extracted, pooled data analysis was performed using nonparametric tests.
Conclusion Recovery-related outcomes for IT were superior to TT (secondary hemorrhage rate, number of days until pain free) in a pediatric population with obstructive symptoms (level-1 evidence).