Post-tonsillectomy pseudoaneurysm: an underestimated entity?

Jochen P. Windfuhr*, A. M. Sesterhenn, Georg Schloendorff, B. Kremer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Objective: To identify patients undergoing arteriography to verily vascular complications of tonsillectomy, with an emphasis on pseudoaneurysm. Patients and methods: We undertook a retrospective analysis of the case records of 8837 patients who had undergone tonsillectomy between 1988 and 2004 at our institution, together with a review of expert reports written for professional boards and Civil Courts as well as personal experiences or communication. We also conducted a literature review using the PubMed database. Results: We identified seven cases with vascular abnormalities. In addition, we identified three cases of pseudoaneurysm formation, involving two children and one adult patient, with bleeding 21, 36 and 58 days after tonsillectomy. Successful management included embolisation (two patients) and revision Surgery (one patient). Conclusion: Post-tonsillectomy pseudoaneurysm formation is extremely rare and unrestricted by age. Correct diagnosis depends largely on a high index of clinical Suspicion. Delayed and repeated episodes of gushing haernorrhage with spontaneous cessation appear to be a significant clinical marker. Immediate arteriography, with simultaneous embolisation, is highly recommended. The lingual artery is the most commonly involved vessel.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59-66
JournalJournal of Laryngology and Otology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2010


  • Tonsillectomy
  • Post-tonsillectomy Hemorrhage
  • Pseudoaneurysm
  • Complication
  • Episodic Bleeding


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