April 1961

Suction for Postoperative Wounds

Author Affiliations

From Northwestern University Medical School and Department of Surgery Evanston Hospital Association.

Arch Surg. 1961;82(4):569-575. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1961.01300100083008

Since Raffl's short but excellent article in 1952,1 suction drainage has become widely accepted as the best method of treating wounds having large flaps of skin requiring approximation to underlying tissues. Prior to that time, Murphy2 had advocated intermittent aspiration of subcutaneous collections of fluid by needle and syringe, and Chaffin3 had used suction drainage to skin flaps of amputations, but the main body of surgeons still used bulky, uncomfortable pressure dressings. Although Raffl's article dealt with the use of suction for radical mastectomy wounds only, subsequently this method has also been used very successfully for radical neck dissections, radical groin dissections, and palmar dissections.4,5,9 There have been some variations in the way this method has been used, however,4-8 and recently a method of continuous sterile portable suction has been advocated which uses blood-collecting vacuum bottles.4

We have used suction drainage for over 5

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