Fatal hemorrhage after tonsillectomy: A case of segmental mediolysis in arterioles

Katharina Feld, W. Mellin, B. Melzer, Markus A. Rothschild, Jochen Fries

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debate


This is the first report of a segmental mediolysis occurring in arterioles, affecting the neck/tonsillar region and leading to a fatal hemorrhage after a tonsillectomy in a 20-year-old woman. Arteriolar mediolysis could be observed in tissue layers about 2 cm distant from the tonsillectomy region. Reparative changes were observed in the carotid and small neck arteries as well as in only one intramyocardial arteriole; however, no other vascular regions typically reported in segmental mediolysis arteriopathy were affected and aneurysm formation was not observed. No family history of vascular disease or hypertension was known. Pathophysiologically, previously reported reasons for post-tonsillectomy bleeding could be excluded. Segmental mediolysis may represent a wider spectrum of affected arteriolar vessels besides the reported small and medium sized arteries leading to aneurysms, which impedes radiographic diagnosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)52-57
Number of pages6
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Arteriolar vessels
  • Neck region
  • Posttonsillectomy bleeding
  • Reparative changes
  • Vascular disease


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