Tonsillectomy using ultrasonic scalpel

NICE interventional procedures guidance [IPG178] Published date:

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The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has issued full guidance to the NHS in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland on tonsillectomy using ultrasonic scalpel.

  • Description

    Ultrasonic scalpel tonsillectomy is typically performed under general anaesthetic. This procedure uses ultrasonic energy to simultaneously dissect through tissues and seal blood vessels. Tissues are cut by a disposable blade, which vibrates at an ultrasonic frequency thereby cutting the tissue. This vibration also transfers energy to the tissue, thereby leading to coagulation, and through this achieving haemostasis. The temperature caused by the vibration is around 55–100ºC and is lower than by other hot methods such as diathermy or lasers.

  • OPCS4.6 Code(s)

    F34.1 Bilateral dissection tonsillectomy

    Y11.5 Ultrasonic destruction of organ NOC


    Note: Use a supplementary code for concurrent excision of adenoid (E20.1Total adenoidectomy Includes: Excision of adenoid and adenoidectomy or E20.4 Suction diathermy adenoidectomy).

    The NHS Classifications Service of NHS Connecting for Health is the central definitive source for clinical coding guidance and determines the coding standards associated with the classifications (OPCS-4 and ICD-10) to be used across the NHS.   The NHS Classifications Service and NICE work collaboratively to ensure the most appropriate classification codes are provided.


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