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August 1996

Drainage After Thyroid and Parathyroid Surgery

Author Affiliations

Teaneck, NJ

Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1996;122(8):898. doi:10.1001/archotol.1996.01890200086022

I eagerly read the recent article by Wax et al1 dealing with the necessity of drainage after routine thyroid and parathyroid surgery. Their straightforward article deals with an issue very common for surgeons: how to change something that "we've been doing for years and years and years."

At the urging of an anesthesiologist, I stopped placing drains in patients undergoing routine thyroid and parathyroid surgery approximately 2½ years ago. During the last 150 cases, I have also noticed essentially no morbidity associated with this new practice.

Postoperative care is diminished and no increased adverse events have been noted.

Unlike some new special technique or anatomical exposure, this simple change in surgical habits would have been unthought of except for the urging of an observant anesthesiologist. This friend did not understand why abdominal surgery rarely requires a drain whereas head and neck surgery, uniformly, involves postoperative drainage.

I applaud Wax

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