• Cost containment;
  • medical economics;
  • sleep apnea;
  • tonsillitis


To analyze variables that affect time and cost parameters of pediatric adenotonsillectomy.

Study Design

Longitudinal 7-month retrospective review of sequential tonsil and adenoid surgery at a university pediatric tertiary care hospital.


All children aged 2 to 12 years who underwent adenotonsillectomy from May 2008 to October 2008 had charts and billing records analyzed for variations in charges and times of adenotonsillectomy according to patient age, body mass index for age (BMIFA), American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) status, surgical indication, technology used, and teaching status of case. A total of 214 children had records reviewed.


Statistically significant variations were observed for all measured parameters except for indications for surgery. Children 3 years and younger had shorter procedures (P = .005) and total operating room times (P = .037). Charges for supplies were lower for ASA 1 patients than for ASA 2 patients (P = .010). Obese children with elevated BMIFA required longer procedures (P = .039) and more expensive surgery (P = .003). Procedure times were shorter for Coblation (ArthroCare, Austin, TX) compared with electrocautery (P = .27) and for microdebrider compared with electrocautery (P < .001). Charges for Coblation were substantially higher (P < .001). Teaching cases took longer (P < .001).


Charges and times for adenotonsillectomy surgery varied by patient age, BMIFA, ASA status, tonsillectomy technique, and teaching case status. Clinically salient differences were noted for ASA status, BMIFA, and surgical technique. This method of cost analysis provides useful information for resource management in tonsillectomy.

Level of Evidence

2c. Laryngoscope, 124:1223–1228, 2014