Safety of early pelvic drain removal in colorectal surgery based on drainage quantity

BMC Surg. 2023 May 16;23(1):130. doi: 10.1186/s12893-023-02041-3.


BACKGROUND: This study aimed to investigate the association between the drainage quantity of pelvic drains and postoperative complications in colorectal surgery.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: This retrospective single-center study enrolled 122 colorectal surgery patients between January 2017 and December 2020. After restorative proctectomy or proctocolectomy with gastrointestinal anastomosis, a continuous, low-pressure suction pelvic drain was placed and its contents measured. Removal ensued following the absence of turbidity and a drainage quantity of ≤ 150 mL/day.

RESULTS: Seventy-five patients (61.5%) and 47 patients (38.5%) underwent restorative proctectomy and proctocolectomy, respectively. Drainage quantity changes were observed on postoperative day (POD) 3, regardless of the surgical procedure or postoperative complications. The median (interquartile range) number of PODs before drain removal and organ-space surgical site infection (SSI) diagnosis were 3 (3‒5) and 7 (5‒8), respectively. Twenty-one patients developed organ-space SSIs. Drains were left in place in two patients after POD 3 owing to large drainage quantities. Drainage quality changes enabled diagnosis in two patients (1.6%). Four patients responded to therapeutic drains (3.3%).

CONCLUSIONS: The drainage quantity of negative-pressure closed suction drains diminishes shortly after surgery, regardless of the postoperative course. It is not an effective diagnostic or therapeutic drain for organ-space SSI. This supports early drain removal based on drainage quantity changes in actual clinical practice.

TRIAL REGISTRATION: The study protocol was retrospectively registered and carried out per the Declaration of Helsinki and approved by the Hiroshima University Institutional Review Board (approval number: E-2559).

PMID:37194046 | DOI:10.1186/s12893-023-02041-3


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