To assess the postoperative complications in patients who underwent elective thyroid or parathyroid surgery without postoperative drainage.
During a 6-year period all patients who met study criteria were prospectively evaluated.
General community and tertiary referral center.
Fifty-seven patients undergoing thyroid surgery and eight patients undergoing parathyroid surgery were evaluated. Twenty-four patients were excluded because drains were placed postoperatively. Reasons for exclusion included presence of a large dead space, substernal goiter, extensive neck dissection for malignant neoplasm, and large goiters.
Major complications consisted of a hematoma requiring reexploration in one patient, and a recurrent nerve palsy in one patient. Minor complications consisted of temporary hypocalcemia (three), seroma (one), and superior flap edema that resolved in 3 months (20).
Routine prophylactic drainage in a select patient population is unnecessary after uncomplicated thyroid or parathyroid surgery.(Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1995;121:981-983)
Wax MK, Valiulis AP, Hurst MK. Drains in Thyroid and Parathyroid Surgery: Are They Necessary? Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1995;121(9):981–983. doi:10.1001/archotol.1995.01890090025004
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