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.


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.

Coding recommendations


SNOMED CT preferred term (concept ID)

Tonsillectomy using ultrasonic scalpel (853831000000102)


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).

Diagnosis or health condition

SNOMED CT preferred term (concept ID)

Hypertrophy of tonsils (46689006)     

Chronic tonsillitis (90979004) 

Recurrent acute tonsillitis (195677001)