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Year : 2013  |  Volume : 9  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 267-271

Post-operative abdominal drainage following major upper gastrointestinal surgery: Single drain versus two drains

Department of Hepato-Pancreato-Biliary Surgical Oncology, Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

Correspondence Address:
Shailesh V Shrikhande
Department of Hepato-Pancreato-Biliary Surgical Oncology, Tata Memorial Hospital, Ernest Borges Marg, Parel, Mumbai, Maharashtra
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0973-1482.113380

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Background: Traditionally, surgeons have resorted to placing drains following major gastrointestinal surgery. In recent years, the value of routine drainage has been questioned, especially in the light of their role in post-operative pain, infection, and prolonged hospital stay. The aim of this study was to compare the peri-operative outcomes following the use of a single versus two drains for gastric and pancreatic resections. Materials and Methods: Patients undergoing resections for gastric and pancreatic malignancies were included in the study. Patients were subdivided into two groups depending on the number of drains placed, viz. one drain (Group 1) or two drains (Group 2). Clinico-pathologic outcomes were recorded and compared. Results: Of the 285 patients included in the analysis, group 1 consisted of 226 patients while group 2 included 59 patients. Overall, drains alerted the surgeon to existence of complications in 62% of patients - 70% in group 1 and 44.4% in group 2 (P < 0.19). The morbidity and mortality rates in groups 1 and 2 were 25.2% and 3.9%, and 23.7% and 0%, respectively (P < 0.61 and P < 0.12). There were no drain-related complications. Median hospital stay was significantly lower in group 1 (11 vs. 14 days) (P < 0.001). Conclusion: The insertion of drains did aid in the detection of complications following gastric and pancreatic surgery. Two drains offer no further advantage over one drain in terms of detection of complications. While the number of drains did not contribute to, or reduce, the morbidity and mortality in the two groups, the use of one drain significantly reduced hospital stay. Taken together, these findings support the prophylactic insertion of a single intra-abdominal drain following gastric and pancreatic resections.

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