Surgical drains are commonly used in plastic surgery. Drains are subsequently removed at arbitrary volumes depending on local protocols. The rational for when to remove a drain has not been scientifically determined. We compared removal of drains at ≤30 ml/24 h vs. ≤50 ml/24 h for 158 wounds, in 90 patients. Postoperative complications, length of hospital stay and resulting cost–benefit were considered. Prospective data were collected for two consecutive similar cohorts of patients undergoing abdominoplasty, bilateral breast reduction and breast augmentation. In the first cohort, drains were removed when drainage was ≤30 ml/24 h and the second cohort when ≤50 ml/24 h. Demographics, days of drainage, surgeon grade and duration of postoperative hospital stay were recorded. Patient records were then analysed and complications recorded, including haematoma, infection, seroma, wound breakdown and fat necrosis. The median postoperative stay for all three operations for both drainage cohorts was similar with no statistically significant difference; however, the drainage time in breast augmentation was significantly less in the <50 ml/24 h group. There were no significant differences in outcome measures between the patients undergoing abdominoplasty, breast reduction or breast augmentation. Drain removal at ≤50 vs. ≤30 ml/24 h did not result in an increase in postoperative morbidity or adverse outcome in any of the three different operation types.
European Journal of Plastic Surgery – Springer Journals
Published: Aug 1, 2012
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