“Coblation” stands for “Controlled ablation“, which means a process of reducing the size of something. COBLATION technology combines low-temperature radio frequency energy with saline to create a plasma field. This plasma field is contained at the tip of the device and dissolves tissues molecule by molecule, resulting in a precise dissection of targeted tissue. The COBLATION process generates significantly lower temperatures on the contact tissue therefore minimizing damage to the surrounding healthy tissue.
Coblation tonsillectomy is safe and effective alternative to traditional tonsillectomy. Tonsillectomy with steel forceps (as traditional) consumes longer time than coblation tonsillectomy does as a slower dissection. The reduction of intra operative blood loss and operation time in coblation tonsillectomy is obvious. Studies showed a significant difference in postoperative morbidity and complications between patients undergoing coblation tonsillectomy and those undergoing traditional technique.
It results in less blood loss and tissue damage, reduced post surgical pain and no significant morbidities like postoperative hemorrhage. It minimizes the postoperative recovery period thus ensures earlier return to normal activity without increasing the postoperative complications.
Coblation is a kind of radiofrequency surgery. The technique involves passing radiofrequency energy through a conductive medium (such as isotonic sodium chloride) and producing a plasma field. When current from radiofrequency probe passes through saline medium it breaks saline into sodium and chloride ions. These highly energized ions form a plasma field strong enough to break organic molecular bonds within soft tissue causing its dissolution. This reaction is achieved at temperatures between 60℃ and 70℃ (compared with 400℃ to 600℃ in electrosurgery). The presence of cool, irrigating isotonic saline helps to limit the amount of heat delivered to the surrounding structures [1,2].Coblation is operated in low temperature, so it is proposed that tonsillectomy with coblation involves less postoperative pain and allows accelerated healing of the tonsillar fossae compared with other methods involving heat driven processes.
Coblation technology is widely used in the field of otolaryngology for performing:
- Tongue base reduction
- Turbinate reduction
- Kashima procedure for bilateral abductor paralysis
- Papilloma vocal cords
- Nasal polypectomy
- Uvulo palate pharyngoplasty
- Coblation vs. Electrocautery Tonsillectomy: A Prospective Randomized Study Comparing Clinical Outcomes in Adolescents and Adults, Sung-Moon Hong, Jae-Gu Cho, Sung Won Chae, Heung-Man Lee, and Jeong-Soo WooClinExpOtorhinolaryngol. 2013 Jun; 6(2):90–93.Published online 2013 Jun 14. doi: 10.3342/ceo.2013.6.2.90PMCID:PMC3687068.
- Use of coblation in otolaryngology, head and neck surgery, Joshi H, Carney AS. Laryngoscope. 2003 May; 113(5):882-7. Br J Hosp Med (Lond). 2011 Oct; 72(10):565-9.
- Radiofrequency tonsil reduction: safety, morbidity, and efficacy. Friedman M1, LoSavio P, Ibrahim H, Ramakrishnan V.