Swallowing before and after tonsillectomy as evaluated by surface electromyography

Michael Vaiman, Daniel Krakovski, Haim Gavriel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: Surface electromyography (sEMG) was performed on adult patients (n = 40) following tonsillectomy to evaluate recovery by objective means. Methods: Evaluated parameters included timing of swallowing and continuous drinking, electric amplitude and graphic patterns of masseter (MS), and measurement of infrahyoid (INF) and submental (SUB) muscles after tonsillectomy and comparison with normative database. Results: The duration of drinking periods showed significant increase among patients; single-swallow durations remained normal. The electric activity of MS and INF muscles was significantly higher among the patients compared with normative database. It took one month until all the EMG data returned to normal. Conclusion: Tonsillectomy affects muscle activity during swallowing by involving additional muscles in deglutition. EMG is a simple reliable method for postoperative evaluation and might contribute to comparative analysis of different tonsillectomy techniques. EMG can be used during pre- and postoperative stages to monitor recovery and functional improvement of throat muscles and deglutition. Significance: The reported sEMG method and obtained data might be further used: 1) As an additional tool for comparison of different methods of tonsillectomy (eg, cold vs hot dissection, laser surgery, etc); 2) For further development of objective postsurgical pain assessment; 3) As an additional tool for assessment and development of less traumatic surgical technique; and 4) For monitoring of recovery in difficult cases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)138-145
Number of pages8
JournalOtolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2007


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