Abandoning Prophylactic Abdominal Drainage after Hepatic Surgery: 10 Years of No-Drain Policy in an Enhanced Recovery after Surgery Environment

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Background: Routine prophylactic abdominal drainage after hepatic surgery is still being debated, as it may be unnecessary, possibly harmful, and uncomfortable for patients. This study evaluated the safety of a no-drain policy after liver resection within an Enhanced Recovery after Surgery (ERAS) programme. Methods: All hepatectomies performed without prophylactic drainage during 2005-2014 were included. Primary end points were resection-surface-related (RSR) morbidity, defined as the presence of postoperative biloma, hemorrhage or abscess, and reinterventions. Secondary end points were length of stay, total postoperative morbidity, the composite end point of liver surgery-specific complications, readmissions, and 90-day mortality. Uni-and multivariate analyses were performed to identify independent risk factors for RSR morbidity. A systematic search was performed to compare the results of this study to literature. Results: A total of 538 resections were included in the study. The RSR complication and reintervention rate was 15 and 12%, respectively. Major liver resection (>= 3 segments) was an independent risk factor for the development of RSR morbidity (OR 3.01, 95% CI 1.61-5.62; p = 0.001) and need for RSR reintervention (OR 3.02, 95% CI 1.59-5.73; p = 0.001). Conclusion: RSR morbidity, mortality, and reintervention rates after liver surgery without prophylactic drainage in patients, treated within an ERAS programme, were comparable to previously published data. A no-drain policy after partial hepatectomy seems safe and feasible.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)411-420
JournalDigestive Surgery
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Drain
  • No-drain
  • Prophylactic drainage
  • Abdominal drainage
  • Liver surgery

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