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January 1988

To Drain or Not to Drain in Thyroid SurgeryA Controlled Clinical Study

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Surgery, Ljungby Hospital (Dr Wihlborg), Växjö Hospital (Dr Bergljung), and Helsingborg Hospital (Dr Mårtensson), Helsingborg, Sweden.

Arch Surg. 1988;123(1):40-41. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1988.01400250042007

• Drainage after thyroid surgery is widely used to prevent postoperative complications by evacuation of blood and fluids. However, to our knowledge no study has shown the benefit of drainage. Therefore, we performed a prospective, randomized study on the rate of complications after drainage or no drainage in thyroid surgery. One hundred fifty patients were allocated to drainage or no drainage. No difference was seen between the two groups according to the experience of the surgeon, type of operation, diagnosis, weight of thyroid specimens, operation time, and hospital stay. All complications were recorded and resulted in two patients receiving reoperation because of bleeding, two permanent laryngeal nerve palsies, one case of permanent hypocalcemia, ten minor hematomas, one wound infection, and one lymphatic leakage. No difference was seen between the groups. This study does not support prophylactic routine drainage after uncomplicated thyroid surgery.

(Arch Surg 1988;123:40-41)