A patient who undergoes an adenotonsillectomy may be at risk for developing perioral burns that can be quite serious. Nuara et al identified risk factors for these burns. The authors are from the University of Utah.


Requirement: use of an electrocautery unit during surgery


Risk factors:

(1) defect involving the tip of the electrocautery device (malfunction)

(2) gap in insulation on a electrocautery device

(3) heat conduction through a metal instrument

(4) operator error


Locations usually affected:

(1) commissure

(2) tongue

(3) lower lip



(1) erythema or abrasion (first degree burn)

(2) blistering (second degree burn)

(3) third degree burn


Scarring may follow more severe burns and is the cause of most long term morbidity.


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