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April 1947


Author Affiliations

From the Surgical Department of Temple University School of Medicine.

Arch Surg. 1947;54(4):365-373. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1947.01230070373001

ABDOMINAL drains have been used since the early days of abdominal surgery. Then the surgeon, fearing to leave ligatures within the abdominal cavity, left the ends hanging from the wound, that he might tug at them from time to time until they loosened and came away. Again, an exigency compelled the surgeon to leave the wound open, as in one of the early hysterectomies (W. Burnham, 1853), in which the patient strained as the abdomen was opened and extruded the fibroid tumor. Being unable to replace it within the abdomen, the operator left the wound open, as did Koeberle in later years with the cervical stump after hysterectomy. The need of continued evacuation of septic or contaminating accumulations was early recognized, and finally Keath placed long glass tubes (Keath's drains) to the depths of the abdomen, which were aspirated by long-nozzled hard rubber syringes at regular intervals, a procedure that

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