COBLATION intracapsular tonsillectomy (CIT)

Key Benefits:

  • Newer technique
  • Removes tonsil tissue, but leaves tonsillar capsule in place
  • Faster recovery compared to total tonsillectomy
  • Less pain compared to other methods and technologies

CIT, which stands for COBLATION Intracapsular Tonsillectomy, is a newer approach to tonsillectomy. This approach uses a COBLATION wand to remove the tonsil tissue but leaves the tonsil lining, the capsule, behind with minimal damage to the surrounding healthy areas.

While a total tonsillectomy, referred to as “extracapsular”, removes the entirety of the tonsil along with the tonsil capsule, an intracapsular tonsillectomy leaves the capsule in place. This small bit of tissue acts as a natural barrier protecting the nerves and blood vessels underneath the tonsil, minimizing patient discomfort and reducing recovery time1.

By using COBLATION technology, patients will notice significantly less pain with their intracapsular tonsillectomy compared to alternative methods such as electrocautery, or techniques such as total tonsillectomy1.

Reduction In Risk Of Bleeding After Surgery2


Total Tonsillectomy vs CIT

CIT when compared to Total Tonsillectomy

  • 0

    readmission for pain

    in a recent large study of CIT patients, there were no delayed discharges or readmissions for pain

  • 0

    Back to work and school earlier

    patients and their families are busy people – let them get back to life more quickly

  • 0


    your family can return to eating normal dinners

  • 0

    Less medication consumption

    There is a decreased need for post-operative analgesic medication

  • 0

    Sooner patients are pain-free

    CIT results in a less painful recovery throughout the healing process

  • 0

    of parents

    would recommend the CIT procedure

Total tonsillectomy

Key Benefits:

  • Historically more common method
  • Removes entirety of tonsil tissue, including tonsillar capsule
  • Many surgeons have experience with this method
  • Less pain with COBLATION technology compared to other technologies*

A total tonsillectomy is a historically more common approach to tonsillectomy. This technique involves the complete removal of all tonsil tissue in the throat, including the lymphatic tissue of the tonsil and the capsule underneath.

While a COBLATION intracapsular tonsillectomy (CIT) technique leaves a small amount of tissue (the capsule) behind to protect the blood vessels and nerves underneath the tonsil, a total tonsillectomy removes all the tonsil tissue and the tonsil capsule. Though many surgeons have experience with this method, it is important to note the risks of PTH and higher pain scores with a total tonsillectomy1,4.

There are a variety of tools that can be used to perform a total tonsillectomy, including cold steel, electrocautery, and COBLATION technology. Previous studies have found that, compared to other methods, patients will notice significantly less pain in their recovery following a total tonsillectomy with COBLATION technology5-8.

Whether you and your doctor decide that a total tonsillectomy or CIT approach is right for you, both methods have proven outcomes with COBLATION Technology.

Recovery Time


This procedure removes the entirety of the tonsils, including the tonsillar capsule, and has a recovery time of generally up to 14 days.

No matter how statistically safe a procedure has proven to be, every surgery has risks. Post Tonsillectomy Hemorrhage (PTH) is a potentially serious complication that has been reported in literature for both adult and pediatric patients. It is reported to occur following use of COBLATION devices as well as following the use of other surgical devices and methods. Before making any surgical decision, you should speak with your doctor about any potential risks.

The information listed on this site is for informational and educational purposes and is not meant as medical advice. Every patient’s case is unique, results will vary, and each patient should follow his or her doctor’s specific instructions. Please talk to your doctor to determine what treatment may be best for you.

COBLATION wands are contraindicated for use in patients with cardiac pacemakers or other electronic device implants.

* Compared to monopolar dissection, based on analysis of eight randomized clinical trials.

1. Smith+Nephew 2021. Partial tonsillectomy using COBLATION versus alternative tonsillectomy techniques: A systematic literature review with meta-analysis. Internal Report. EA/ENT/COBLATION/002/V4.
2. Sedgwick MJ, Saunders C, Bateman N. Intracapsular tonsillectomy using plasma ablation versus total tonsillectomy: a systematic literature review and meta-analysis. OTO Open. 2023;7:e22.
3. Hoey AW et al. Coblation intracapsular tonsillectomy (tonsillotomy) in children: A prospective study of 500 consecutive cases with long-term follow-up. Clinical Otolaryngology. 2017;42(6):1211-7.
4. Keltie K, Donne A, Daniel M, et al. Paediatric tonsillectomy in England: A cohort study of clinical practice and outcomes using Hospital Episode Statistics data (2008-2019). Clin Otolaryngol. 2021;00:1–10.
5. Smith+Nephew 2017. Coblation Dissection Versus Monopolar Dissection – A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Internal Report. P/N 91999.
6. Temple RH, Timms MS. Paediatric coblation tonsillectomy. Int J Pediatr Otorhinolaryngol. 2001;61(3):195 – 198.
7. Ahmad MU, Wardak AN, Hampton T, Siddiqui MRS, Street I. Coblation versus cold dissection in paediatric tonsillectomy: a systematic review and meta-analysis. J Laryngol Otol. 2020;134(3):197 – 204.
8. Parsons SP, Cordes SR, Comer B. Comparison of Posttonsillectomy Pain Using the Ultrasonic Scalpel, Coblator, and Electrocautery. Otolaryngol – Head Neck Surg. 2006;134(1):106 – 113.

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