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1.  Closed Drainage versus Non-Drainage for Single-Level Lumbar Disc Surgery: Relationship between Epidural Hematoma and Fibrosis 
Asian Spine Journal  2016;10(6):1072-1078.
Study Design
A prospective clinical series with prospectively collected data.
The efficacy of using closed suction drains (CSD) after single-level lumbar disc surgery was evaluated. Postoperative CSD are regularly fitted to prevent postoperative epidural hematomas (EH) after multilevel lumbar decompression, although it remains unclear whether CSD also reduces postoperative EH following single-level lumbar disc surgery.
Overview of Literature
Few articles have addressed the clinical outcome in patients with single-level lumbar disc disease who were treated by two different operative methods (with and without drainage).
Between 2012 and 2014, 115 patients with a single level discectomy underwent two surgical procedures: with CSD (group A, 60 cases) and without CSD (group B, 55 cases). There were no significant differences in age, sex, segment level, herniation type, or disease duration between the groups. Wound infection, EH, and epidural fibrosis (EF) were evaluated by magnetic resonance imaging. Pain intensity was evaluated using the visual analog scale (VAS) and Oswestry disability index (ODI). Reduction in analgesic treatment and patient satisfaction were also recorded.
The overall rate of postoperative EH was 5% and 16.3% in group A and B, respectively, whereas the rate of postoperative EF was 11.6% in group A and 21.8% in group B. The postoperative VAS score was 0.32 (standard deviation [SD], 0.45) for group A and 2.62 (SD, 06.9) for group B, whereas ODI was 9.11 (SD, 0.68) and 8.23 (SD, 0.78) for group A and and group B, respectively, with no significant differences observed.
In patients operated on by unilateral, single-level lumbar disc surgery, the use of suction CSD into the operation site results in lower levels of EH and EF radiologically, thereby providing a better clinical outcome.
PMCID: PMC5164997  PMID: 27994783
Spine; Hematoma; Fibrosis; Drainage; Back pain
2.  The Outcome of Using Closed Suction Wound Drains in Patients Undergoing Lumbar Spine Surgery: A Systematic Review 
Global Spine Journal  2015;5(6):479-485.
Study Design Systematic review.
Objective Determine whether closed suction wound drains decrease the incidence of postoperative complications compared with no drain use in patients undergoing spine surgery for lumbar degenerative conditions.
Methods Electronic databases and reference lists of key articles were searched up through January 22, 2015, to identify studies comparing the use of closed suction wound drains with no drains in spine surgery for lumbar degenerative conditions. Outcomes assessed included the cumulative incidence of epidural hematoma, superficial and deep wound infection, and postoperative blood transfusion. The overall strength of evidence across studies was based on precepts outlined by the Grades of Recommendation Assessment, Development and Evaluation Working Group.
Results Five heterogeneous studies, three randomized controlled trials, and two cohort studies form the evidence basis for this report. There was no difference in the incidence of hematoma, superficial wound infection, or deep infection in patients with compared with patients without closed suction wound drains after lumbar surgery. The upper bounds of the 95% confidence interval for hematoma ranged from 1.1 to 16.7%; for superficial infection, 1.0 to 7.3%; and for deep infection, 1.0 to 7.1%. One observational study reported a 3.5-fold increase in the risk of blood transfusion in patients with a drain. The overall strength of evidence for these findings is considered low or insufficient.
Conclusions Conclusions from this systematic review are limited by the quality of included studies that assessed the use of closed suction wound drains in lumbar spine surgeries for degenerative conditions. We believe that spine surgeons should not routinely rely on closed suction wound drains in lumbar spine surgery until a higher level of evidence becomes available to support its use.
PMCID: PMC4671891  PMID: 26682098
lumbar spine surgery; spinal drains; closed suction drains; wound drain; infection; hematoma; postoperative complications
3.  Can We Prevent a Postoperative Spinal Epidural Hematoma by Using Larger Diameter Suction Drains? 
Clinics in Orthopedic Surgery  2016;8(1):78-83.
Epidural hematoma is a rare but serious complication. According to previous studies, it is not prevented by suction drains. This study evaluated the following alternative hypothesis: the larger the diameter of a suction drain, the less the remaining epidural hematoma after spinal surgery.
This was a randomized prospective study. Patients who underwent posterior lumbar decompression and instrumented fusion were divided into two groups: the large drain (LD, 2.8-mm-diameter tube) and small drain (SD, 1.6-mm-diameter tube) groups according to the diameter of the suction drains. All patients were consecutive and allocated alternately according to the date of operations. Suction drains were removed on day 3 and magnetic resonance imaging was performed on day 7 postoperatively. The size of remaining hematomas was measured by the degree of thecal sac compression in cross section using the following 4-point numeric scale: G1, less than one quarter; G2, between one quarter and half; G3, more than half; and G4, more than subtotal obstruction.
There were 39 patients with LDs and 38 with SDs. They did not differ significantly in terms of sex, number of fusion segments, revision or not, antiplatelet medication, intraoperative injection of tranexamic acid. However, patient age differed significantly between the two groups (LD, 63.3 years and < SD, 68.6 years; p = 0.007). The two groups did not differ significantly in terms of prothrombin time, activated partial thromboplastin time, platelet number, blood loss, or operation duration. However, platelet function analysis exhibited a significant difference (LD, 164.7 seconds and < SD, 222.3 seconds; p = 0.002). The two blinded readers showed high consistency (Kappa value = 0.740; p = 0.000). The results of reader 1 were as follows: LD and SD had 21 and 21 cases of G1, 9 and 11 cases of G2, 6 and 6 cases of G3, and 3 and 0 cases of G4, respectively. The results of reader 2 were as follows: LD and SD had 22 and 23 cases of G1, 7 and 9 cases of G2, 7 and 6 cases of G3, and 3 and 0 cases of G4, respectively. There was no difference between the two groups (reader 1, p = 0.636; reader 2, p = 0.466).
The alternative hypothesis was rejected. Therefore, postoperative spinal epidural hematoma would not be prevented by LD.
PMCID: PMC4761605  PMID: 26929803
Hematoma; Epidural; Spinal; Postoperative; Larger suction drain
4.  Is Surgical Drain Useful for Lumbar Disc Surgery? 
Korean Journal of Spine  2016;13(1):20-23.
Surgical drains are commonly used after the spine surgeries for minimizing hematoma formation, which can delay wound healing and may become a source of fibrosis, infection, and pain. The drain, however, may provide a direct route for infection if it is contaminated. Our objective was to survey the relationship between surgical drains and infection.
The 70 patients who had undergone single-level lumbar discectomy from April 2011 to March 2012 were retrospectively analyzed. Each patient's medical chart and magnetic resonance image were thoroughly reviewed after all the patients had been divided into the drainage and the nondrainage groups. The amounts and durations of the surgical drains in the drainage group were analyzed. Additionally, the levels of C-reactive protein, rates of infection, scores of preoperative and postoperative visual analog scale (VAS), and lengths of hospital stay after operation were compared between the 2 groups.
In this study, 70 patients were retrospectively analyzed; out of which, 42 and 28 patients were included in the drainage and the nondrainage groups, respectively. Two of the postoperative infection cases in the nondrainage group required to undergo repeated operations. The frequency of the postoperative infection cases was higher in the nondrainage group than in the drainage group; however, there was no significant statistical difference between the 2 groups (p=0.157).
Surgical drains did not elevate postoperative infection. Furthermore, drain tip cultures allowed us to detect postoperative infection at an early stage, and it led to faster initiation of antibiotics treatment.
PMCID: PMC4844656  PMID: 27123026
Suction; Infection; Hematoma; Discectomy; Lumbar disc disease; Treatment outcome
5.  Half versus full vacuum suction drainage after modified radical mastectomy for breast cancer- a prospective randomized clinical trial[ISRCTN24484328] 
BMC Cancer  2005;5:11.
Suction drains are routinely used after modified radical mastectomy and are an important factor contributing to increased hospital stay as the patients are often discharged only after their removal. Amongst various factors that influence the amount of postoperative drainage, the negative suction pressure applied to the drain has been reported to be of great significance. While a high negative suction pressure is expected to drain the collection and reduce the dead space promptly, it may also prevent the leaking lymphatics from closing and lead to increased drainage from the wound. Against this background a prospective randomized clinical study was conducted to compare the amount and duration of drainage between a half negative suction and full vacuum suction drainage in patients following modified radical mastectomy. The associated postoperative morbidity was also compared between the two groups.
85 FNAC (fine needle aspiration cytology) proven cases of locally advanced breast cancer were randomized. (Using randomly ordered sealed envelops, which were opened immediately before the closure of the wound) in to 50 patients with full vacuum suction (pressure = 700 g/m2) and 35 cases in to half vacuum suction drainage (pressure = 350 g/m2) groups. The two groups were comparable in respect of age, weight, and technique of operation and extent of axillary dissection. Surgery was performed by the same surgical team comprising of five surgeons (two senior and three resident surgeons) using a standardized technique with electrocautery. External compression dressing was provided over the axilla for first 48 hrs and following that patients were encouraged to do active and passive shoulder exercises. The outcomes measured were postoperative morbidity and the length of hospital stay.
Statistical methods used: Descriptive studies were performed with SPSS version 10 and group characteristics were compared using student t-test.
Half vacuum suction drains were removed earlier than the full suction vacuum suction drains. There was no significant difference in the incidence of seroma formation in the two groups and there was a significant reduction in the total hospital stay in patients with half vacuum suction drainage systems as compared to the full suction drainage group (p < 0.001) without any added morbidity.
Half negative suction drains provide an effective compromise between no suction and full or high suction drainage after modified radical mastectomy by reducing the hospital stay and the post operative morbidity including post operative seromas.
PMCID: PMC548268  PMID: 15676064
6.  The use of fibrin sealant after total thyroidectomy for benign disease obviates the need for routine drainage. Results of a randomized controlled trial 
Hippokratia  2011;15(3):247-251.
Background: Drains are usually left after thyroid surgery to prevent formation of hematoma and seroma in the thyroid bed. This prospective randomized clinical trial was conducted to evaluate the necessity of drainage after total thyroidectomy for benign thyroidal disorders.
Methods: The patients were assigned randomly into two groups (group 1: with suction drain, group 2: fibrin glue). In the study, operating time, postoperative pain, the total amount of intramuscular analgesic administration, hospital stay, complications (such as wound infection, seroma, bleeding, hematoma, recurrent laryngeal nerve palsy or hypoparathyroidism), were recorded.
Results: The drained group (group 1) consisted of 2 men and 48 women with a mean age of 47.76±11.22 years. The nondrained (plus fibrin sealant)( group 2) (comprised of 10 men and 40 women with a mean age of 44.72±11.32 years. There was no significant difference in the gender, age, hormonal status and histopathological results of the patients between the two groups (P=0.18, P=0.36, P=0.28 and P=0.40, respectively). The operations performed were total thyroidectomy in all patients. Twenty-five patients (50%) in the non-drained group did not need intramuscular analgesic, whereas 15 patients (30%) did not in the drained group (P=0.01). In addition, the mean amount of intramuscular analgesic requirement was significantly less in the non-drained group than in the drained group (P=0.02). The complication rates were similar between the two groups. One case of hematoma (2%), two cases of seroma (4%) and three cases of transient hypoparathyroidism (6%) occurred in the non-drained group, whereas one case of hematoma (2%), two cases of seroma (4%), two cases of wound infections (4%) and two cases of transient hypoparathyroidism (4%) occurred in the drained group (P=0.69). No patient needed surgical revision or re-operation for any complication and all complications were successfully managed conservatively.
Conclusion: Routine drainage of thyroid bed following thyroid surgery may not be necessary. Not draining the wound results in lesser morbidity and decreased hospital stay.
PMCID: PMC3306032  PMID: 22435023
thyroidectomy; drainage; complications; fibrin sealant
7.  The role of subgaleal suction drain placement in chronic subdural hematoma evacuation 
Asian Journal of Neurosurgery  2016;11(3):214-218.
There is lack of uniformity about the preferred surgical treatment, role of drain, and type of drain among various surgeons in chronic subdural hematoma (CSDH). The present study is aimed to evaluate role of subgaleal drain.
Materials and Methods:
This was a prospective study of 260 patients of CSDH treated surgically. Burr-hole irrigation with and without suction drain was done in 140 and 120 patients, respectively. Out of 120 patients without suction drain 60 each were managed by single and two burr holes. Pre- and postoperative GCS was recorded. Recurrent hematomas, CSDH secondary to tumor, due to intracranial hypotension, coagulopathy, children below 18 years, and patients treated by twist drill craniostomy or craniotomy were excluded. Subgaleal closed-system drainage with low negative pressure was used.
Age of the patients ranged from 18 to 75 years with mean age of 57 years. There were 9, 47, 204 patients in GCS of 3-8, 9-12, and 13-15, respectively. Both the groups were comparable in terms of age, etiology, gender, and neurological status. There was no difference in the mortality in both the group. The recurrence and postoperative pneumocephalus was significantly less in suction drain group as compared to without drain group. There was no infection or any other complication related to suction drainage.
Subgaleal closed suction drainage was safe, simple, and effective in the management of CSDH. Recurrence rate was low in the suction drain group.
PMCID: PMC4849289  PMID: 27366247
Chronic subdural hematoma; intracranial subdural hematoma; operative surgical procedure; subdural hematoma; subgaleal drainage
8.  DRAPA trial – closed-suction drains versus closed gravity drains in pancreatic surgery: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial 
Trials  2015;16:207.
The morbidity of pancreatic resection remains high, with pancreatic fistula being the most common cause. The important question is whether any postoperative treatment adjustment may prevent the development of clinically significant postoperative pancreatic fistulae. Recent studies have shown that intraabdominal drains and manipulation using them are of great importance. Although authors of a few retrospective reports have described good results of pancreatic resection without the use of intraabdominal drains, a recent prospective randomized trial showed that routine elimination of drains in pancreaticoduodenectomy is associated with poor outcome. An important issue arises as to which type of drain is most suitable for pancreatic resection. Two types of surgical drains exist: open drains and closed drains. Open drains are considered obsolete nowadays because of frequent retrograde infection. Closed drains include two types: passive gravity drains and closed-suction drains. Closed-suction drains are more effective, as they remove fluid from the abdominal cavity under light pressure. However, some surgeons believe that closed-suction drains represent a potential hazard to patients and that negative pressure might increase the risk of pancreatic fistulae. Nobody has yet specifically dealt with the question of which kind of drainage is most appropriate in pancreatic surgery.
The aim of the DRAins in PAncreatic surgery (DRAPA) trial is to compare the closed-suction drain versus the closed passive gravity drain in pancreatic resection. DRAPA is a dual-centre, prospective, randomized controlled trial. The primary endpoint is the rate of postoperative pancreatic fistula; the secondary endpoint is postoperative morbidity with follow-up of 3 months.
No study to date has compared different types of drains in pancreatic surgery. This study is designed to answer the question whether any particular type of drain might lower the rate of postoperative pancreatic fistula or other complications.
Trial registration Identifier: NCT01988519. Registered 13 November 2013.
PMCID: PMC4470087  PMID: 25947117
Closed-suction drain; Distal pancreatectomy; Pancreatic fistula; Pancreaticoduodenectomy; Passive gravity drain
Revista Brasileira de Ortopedia  2015;45(6):549-553.
Objective: The aim of this study was to prospectively evaluate the evolution and postoperative complication patterns relating to the use of suction drains, in comparison with not using these devices in total knee arthroplasty (TKA) procedures. Methods: Forty-two patients at a knee surgery referral clinic were included. Fifteen patients did not receive suction drainage postoperatively and 27 received suction drainage. The parameters evaluated were the range of motion, hematological indices, knee circumference and complication rate. The observation period was for six months after the surgical procedure. Results: There were no statistically significant differences between the groups regarding knee circumference, hemoglobin, hematocrit, transfusion rate or infection index. Regarding range of motion, there was no statistically significant difference between the groups with and without drains preoperatively (p = 0.126), during the first postoperative day (p = 0.583), on the fifth to seventh postoperative day (p = 0.076) or at the six-month follow-up (p = 0.848). There was a statistically significant difference between the groups in the evaluation performed between the 14th and 28th postoperative days (p = 0.025). Conclusion: From this study, it was concluded that there was no benefit from using closed suction drains in TKA cases beyond six months after the operation. However, the range of movement at the end of the first month was greater in the patients that received suction drainage.
PMCID: PMC4799190  PMID: 27026962
Arthroplasty; Knee; Drainage Channel; Hemorrhage; Range of Motion; joint
10.  Subcutaneous versus intraarticular closed suction indwelling drainage after total knee arthroplasty: A randomised control trial 
Indian Journal of Orthopaedics  2016;50(1):59-64.
Total knee arthroplasty (TKA) is widely accepted treatment for moderate or severe osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Significant blood loss can be seen during the early postoperative period where a blood transfusion may be necessary. Closed suction drainage is known to prevent the formation of hematomas in the operative field, decrease tension on incisions, diminish delayed wound healing and reduce the risk of infection. Subcutaneous indwelling closed suction drainage method has been known to be beneficial and an alternative to the intraarticular indwelling method. This prospective randomized study was to compare the visible, hidden, total blood loss and postoperative hemodynamic change of subcutaneous and intraarticular indwelling closed suction drainage method after TKA.
Materials and Methods:
One hundred and sixty patients with primary osteoarthritis who underwent unilateral TKA were enrolled; group A with subcutaneous (n = 78) and group B with intraarticular (n = 79) indwelling closed suction drainage method. Total blood loss, visible blood loss, internal blood loss, postoperative day 1, 5th, 10th day hemoglobin, hematocrit levels were compared. Allogeneic blood transfusion rate and complications related to soft tissue hematoma formation were additionally compared.
Allogenic transfusion requirements between subcutaneous drainage group and intraarticular drainage groups (6.4% vs. 24.1%) were significantly different (P = 0.002). Although the minor complications such as the incidence of bullae formation and the ecchymosis were higher in the subcutaneous indwelling group, the functional outcome at postoperative 2 year did not demonstrate the difference from intraarticular drainage group.
Subcutaneous indwelling closed suction drainage method is a reasonable option after TKA for reduction of postoperative bleeding and transfusion rate.
PMCID: PMC4759876  PMID: 26955178
Blood loss; closed suction; drainage system; subcutaneous; total knee arthroplasty; Arthroplasty; replacement; knee; blood loss; postoperative; drainage; suction
11.  An analysis of quantitative measurements of drainage exudate using negative suction in 96 microtia ear reconstructions 
Negative suction drainage is commonly used for the prevention of seromas or hematomas in auricular reconstruction surgery; however, there are few reports regarding the quantitative measurement of negative suction and its relation to disposed time, patient age or microtia type. In the present study, the authors recorded the volume of suction exudate in microtia reconstruction and elaborate on the relevant details of controlling negative suction. A negative suction drainage system was applied in 96 microtia patients between 2007 and 2010. Two small polyethylene drains were inserted adjacent to the concha and the scapha, respectively. The volume of exudate was recorded for three days after surgery and was analyzed according to disposed time, patient age and microtia type. The drains were removed on the third postoperative day, when only a small amount of exudate remained. A significant change in drainage was observed over three days postoperatively, and the quantity decreased progressively on the third postoperative day. Comparison of age groups showed that the volume of drainage from adults was greater than that from children or adolescents in the first two postoperative days, regardless of whether the drains were inserted in the scapha or concha. No statistical differences were found on the third postoperative day. A comparison of drain types revealed no statistically significant differences between scapha and concha drains three days postoperatively. The analysis demonstrated that drainage quantity is related to disposed time and patient age, but not to microtia type. The authors recommend removal of suction drains on the third postoperative day. Moreover, individualized negative suction treatment according to age or microtia type provides a safe and consistent approach to achieving acceptable results and fewer complications.
PMCID: PMC3513248  PMID: 24294013
Ear reconstruction; Microtia; Negative suction; Quantity measurement
12.  Outcome in primary cemented total knee arthroplasty with or without drain: A prospective comparative study 
Indian Journal of Orthopaedics  2014;48(4):404-409.
Suction drain insertion is a common practice in orthopedic surgery, especially after joint arthroplasty to prevent the formation of a hematoma. Theoretically the use of a drain should diminish the volume of hematoma; however the literature has conflicting data. Some authors state that drainage evacuates fluid from a limited area only and can be a cause of infection due to retrograde migration of bacteria. It can also impair the early postoperative rehabilitation. The aim of this study was to evaluate the clinical outcome (especially postoperative pain) and intake of analgesics in patients who had undergone primary cemented total knee arthroplasty (TKA) with or without a postoperative drain.
Materials and Methods:
A prospective comparative study of 108 consecutive patients (121 knees) was conducted. They were divided into two groups: A study group, with no drainage and a control group with drain inserted at the end of surgery. A total of 121 patients were recruited into two groups. A study group consisted of 59 knees, in which we did not use drainage after TKA and a control group with 62 knees, in which drain was inserted post surgery. Both groups were comparable in terms of preoperative characteristics. The indication for TKA was osteoarthritis (n = 105) and rheumatoid arthritis (n = 16).
In patients without drainage we observed lower need for opioids, higher blood loss on the 1st postoperative day and a lower need for change of dressings. There were no statistically significant differences in terms of total blood loss, hidden blood loss, transfusion rate, range of motion, length of hospital stay or incidence of complications between the two groups. In 1 year observation there were no differences in clinical outcome between the two groups.
The present study conclude that there is no rationale for the use of drain after primary TKA. There are benefits in terms of lower opioid intake, lower blood loss on the first postoperative day and lower need for dressing reinforcement during hospitalization.
PMCID: PMC4137520  PMID: 25143646
Blood loss; drain; dressing reinforcement; opioids; total knee arthroplasty; Arthroplasty; replacement; knee; blood loss; surgical drainage suction
13.  Subcutaneous versus Intraarticular Indwelling Closed Suction Drainage after TKA: A Randomized Controlled Trial 
TKA can involve substantial bleeding, and the issue regarding whether vacuum drainage should be used during TKA continues to be debated as both methods have disadvantages.
We therefore asked whether subcutaneous indwelling vacuum drainage is advantageous over intraarticular indwelling vacuum drainage in terms of blood drainage, bleeding-related complications, and functional outcomes in primary TKA.
Patients and methods
We randomized 111 patients undergoing TKAs to have either a subcutaneous indwelling or an intraarticular indwelling catheter and compared the two groups for blood loss (hemoglobin decrease, transfusion requirements, hypotension episode), incidence of wound problems (requirements for dressing reinforcement, oozing, hematoma, hemarthrosis, ecchymosis, infection), and functional outcomes (recovery of motion arc, American Knee Society, WOMAC, and SF-36 scores) at 12 months after surgery.
The mean vacuum drainage volume was less in the subcutaneous indwelling group than in the intraarticular indwelling group (140 mL versus 352 mL). The groups were similar in terms of decreases in hemoglobin after 2 and 5 days (3.0 versus 3.3 g/dL and 3.3 versus 3.7 g/dL, respectively), allogenic transfusion requirements (4% versus 11%), incidence of wound problems, and functional scores.
The data suggest subcutaneous indwelling closed-suction drainage is a reasonable alternative to intraarticular indwelling closed-suction drainage and to no suction drainage.
Level of Evidence
Level I, therapeutic study. See Guidelines for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.
PMCID: PMC2895852  PMID: 20127212
14.  Wound drains in posterior spinal surgery: a meta-analysis 
The use of drains following posterior spinal surgery is controversial. Thus, the aim of this meta-analysis was to review the advantages and adverse effects of closed suction drainage systems in posterior spinal surgery.
All randomized and non-randomized controlled trials comparing the use of closed suction drainage with no drainage in posterior spinal surgery were sought in PubMed, Medicine, Embase, and other Internet databases. All of the literature was searched and assessed by two independent reviewers, according to the standards of Cochrane systematic reviews. Data on functional and radiological outcomes in the two groups were pooled, which were then analyzed with RevMan software, version 5.2.
Four randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and four non-RCTs met the inclusion criteria. Meta-analysis revealed that no significant differences were found regarding wound infection (P = 0.83), hematoma (P = 0.48), neurological injury (P = 0.21), estimated blood loss (P = 0.59), or dry and moderate dressing drainage between the groups. The number of patients with saturated dressings was larger in the no drainage group (P = 0.002).
There is no obvious evidence to support the application of closed suction drains for posterior spinal surgery. Because of the limited quality of the evidence currently available, more high-quality RCTs with better experimental designs and larger patient samples should be performed.
PMCID: PMC4724097  PMID: 26801088
Spine; Posterior; Drain; Meta-analysis
15.  Case Report: Cauda Equina Syndrome Associated With an Interspinous Device 
Although postoperative spinal epidural hematoma (SEH) is not uncommon, hematomas that require surgery are rare. Cauda equina syndrome (CES) may be associated with postoperative SEH. In these cases, early recognition and emergency decompression can prevent further damage and better neurologic recovery.
Case Description
A 41-year-old man underwent two-level discectomy with insertion of an interspinous spacer at L3-4 and L4-5 because of low back pain and radiculopathy. Eight hours after the operation, the patient developed CES. MRI revealed SEH compressing posteriorly at the L3-4 level. On emergency decompression and hematoma evacuation, the interspinous spacer had obstructed the laminotomy site at L3-4 completely, blocking drainage to the drain. The patient experienced complete neurologic recovery by 2 months followup.
Literature Review
Many studies report risk factors for SEH. However, postoperative SEH can also be encountered in patients without these risks. One study reported a critical ratio (preoperative versus postoperative cross-sectional area) correlated with postoperative symptoms, especially in those with CES. The propensity to develop CES is likely dependent on a number of patient-specific factors.
Clinical Relevance
Surgeons should be aware that patients without risk factors may develop acute CES. Wider laminotomy (larger than half of the device size) may help to prevent this complication when one uses the compressible type of device, especially in patients with relatively small lamina.
PMCID: PMC3348300  PMID: 21870210
16.  Suction Drain Tip Culture after Spine Surgery: Can It Predict a Surgical Site Infection? 
Asian Spine Journal  2015;9(6):863-868.
Study Design
Retrospective clinical study.
To assess the diagnostic value of suction drain tip culture in patients undergoing primary posterior spine surgery.
Overview of Literature
To date, the diagnostic value of suction drain tip culture for predicting surgical site infection (SSI) has not been firmly established in orthopedic or spinal surgery.
In total, 133 patients who underwent primary posterior spine surgery from January 2013 to April 2015 were included in this retrospective study. Patients diagnosed with infective disease or condition was excluded. The suction drain tip was cut off approximately 5 cm from its far end. The sample was sent to the microbiological laboratory of the hospital for culture analysis. Any signs of infection, such as wound discharge or dehiscence, fever, chills, or chronic pain, were recorded. The culture outcome, identification of bacteria, and postoperative transition of the serum C-reactive protein level were also recorded in all patients. The wounds were followed up for a minimum of 3 months.
A positive drain tip culture was found in 48 patients (36.1%), of whom, 6 developed SSI. The sensitivity of drain tip culture for SSI after primary posterior spine surgery was 60.0%, and the specificity was 65.9%. The association between the incidence of positive suction tip culture and SSI was not statistically significant. Among the 48 positive drain tip cultures, there was no significant association between the occurrence of SSI and virulence of isolated bacteria. There was no significant association between drain tip culture positivity and the duration of drainage, or between the rate of SSI and duration of drainage.
Suction drain tip culture analysis is a poor predictor of SSI after primary posterior spine surgery. Routine use of a drain tip culture is not supported by the results of this study.
PMCID: PMC4686390  PMID: 26713117
Spine surgery; Surgical site infection; Drain tip culture; Diagnostic value; Bacteria
17.  Postoperative Spinal Epidural Hematoma: Risk Factor and Clinical Outcome 
Yonsei Medical Journal  2006;47(3):326-332.
We report a series of epidural hematomas which cause neurologic deterioration after spinal surgery, and have taken risk factors and prognostic factors into consideration. We retrospectively reviewed the database of 3720 cases of spine operation in a single institute over 7 years (1998 April-2005 July). Nine patients who demonstrated neurologic deterioration after surgery and required surgical decompression were identified. Factors postulated to increase the postoperative epidural hematoma and to improve neurologic outcome were investigated. The incidence of postoperative epidural hematoma was 0.24%. Operation sites were cervical 3 cases, thoracic 2 cases, and lumbar 4 cases. Their original diagnoses were tumor 3 cases, cervical stenosis 2 cases, lumbar stenosis 3 cases and herniated lumbar disc 1case. The symptoms of epidural hematomas were neurologic deterioration and pain. After decompression, clinical outcome revealed complete recovery in 3 cases (33.3%), incomplete recovery in 5 cases (55.6%) and no change in 1 case (11.1%). Factors increasing the risk of postoperative epidural hematoma were coagulopathy from medical illness or anticoagulation therapy (4 cases, 44.4%) and highly vascularized tumor (3 cases, 33.3%). The time interval to evacuation of complete recovery group (29.3 hours) was shorter than incomplete recovery group (66.3 hours). Patients with coagulopathy and highly vascularized tumor were more vulnerable to spinal epidural hematoma. The postoperative outcome was related to the preoperative neurological deficit and the time interval to the decompression.
PMCID: PMC2688151  PMID: 16807981
Clinical outcome; risk factor; postoperative; spinal epidural hematoma; spine surgery
18.  Improved Intermittent-clamped Drainage in Lower Lumbar Internal Fixation: A Randomized Prospective Study 
Chinese Medical Journal  2016;129(23):2804-2809.
Continuous negative pressure drainage (CNPD) is widely used after lower lumbar internal fixation; however, it may cause tremendous blood loss and lead to postoperative hemorrhagic anemia. The present study explored the efficacy and safety of improved intermittent-clamped drainage (ICD) for lower lumbar internal fixation.
This was a prospective study that included 156 patients with decompression of the spinal canal and internal fixation for the first time from January 2012 to December 2014. The patients were randomly divided into ICD group and CNPD group, and each group had 78 cases. A drainage tube was placed under the deep fascia in all patients within 10 min after the commencement of wound closure. The postoperative drainage amount at different time points, the hemoglobin level, and postoperative complications were recorded and compared between the two groups. Shapiro-Wilk test, independent samples t-test, and Mann-Whitney U-test were used in this study.
The drainage amount was significantly reduced in the ICD group, as compared with the CNPD group (Z = 10.74, P < 0.01). The mean total drainage amount (in ml) of the single-segment and two-segment procedures was significantly greater in the CNPD group than the ICD group (Z = 10.63 and 10.75, respectively; P < 0.01). For the adverse events, there was no significant difference in postoperative temperature, wound problem, and complications between the two groups.
The present study showed a statistically significant reduction in postoperative drainage amount between ICD and CNPD groups, and ICD is an effective, convenient, and safe method for routine use in lower lumbar surgery. It is essential to focus on the effect of clamping drainage with long-segment surgical procedure and complex lumbar disease in the further investigation, as well as the effect of clamping on long-term functional outcomes.
PMCID: PMC5146786  PMID: 27900992
Blood Loss; Complications; Drainage; Lumbar Surgery
19.  Extensive Postoperative Epidural Hematoma After Full Anticoagulation: Case Report and Review of the Literature 
A 67-year-old man with degenerative lumbar spinal stenosis and a medical history significant for coronary artery disease underwent routine lumbar surgical decompression. The objective of this study was to report a case of postoperative epidural hematoma associated with the use of emergent anticoagulation, including the dangers associated with spinal decompression and early postoperative anticoagulation.
Case report.
After anticoagulation therapy for postoperative myocardial ischemia, the patient developed paresis with ascending abdominal paraesthesias. Immediate decompression of the surgical wound was carried out at the bedside. Magnetic resonance imaging revealed a massive spinal epidural hematoma extending from the middle of the cervical spine to the sacrum. Emergent cervical, thoracic, and revision lumbar laminectomy without fusion was performed to decompress the spinal canal and evacuate the hematoma.
Motor and sensory function returned to normal by 14 days postoperatively, but bowel and bladder function continued to be impaired. Postoperative radiographs showed that coronal and sagittal spinal alignment did not change significantly after extensive laminectomy.
Full anticoagulation should be avoided in the early postoperative period. In cases requiring early vigorous anticoagulation, patients should be closely monitored for changes in neurologic status. Combined cervical, thoracic, and lumbar laminectomy, without instrumentation or fusion, is an acceptable treatment option.
PMCID: PMC2031966  PMID: 17684896
Spinal stenosis, lumbar; Spinal decompression; Anticoagulation; Epidural hematoma; Laminectomy
20.  Effectiveness of Postoperative Wound Drains in One- and Two-Level Cervical Spine Fusions 
Cervical drains have historically been used to avoid postoperative wound and respiratory complications such as excessive edema, hematoma, infection, re-intubation, delayed extubation, or respiratory distress. Recently, some surgeons have ceased using drains because they may prolong hospital stay, operative time, or patient discomfort. The objective of this retrospective case-control series is to investigate the effectiveness of postoperative drains following one- and two-level cervical fusions.
A chart review was conducted at a single institution from 2010-2013. Outcome measures included operative time, hospital stay, estimated blood loss and incidence of wound complications (infection, hematoma, edema, and complications with wound healing or evacuation), respiratory complications (delayed extubation, re-intubation, and respiratory treatment), and overall complications (wound complications, respiratory complications, dysphagia, and other complications). Statistical analyses including independent samples t-test, chi-square, analysis of covariance, and linear regression were used to compare patients who received a postoperative drain to those who did not.
The study population included 39 patients who received a postoperative drain and 42 patients who did not. There were no differences in demographics between the two groups. Patients with drains showed increased operative time (100.1 vs 69.3 min, p < 0.001), hospital stay (38.9 vs. 31.7 hrs, p = 0.021), and blood loss (62.7 vs 29.1 mL, p < 0.001) compared to patients without drains. The frequency of wound complications, respiratory complications, and overall complications did not vary significantly between groups.
Conclusions/Level of Evidence
Cervical drains may not be necessary for patients undergoing one- and two-level cervical fusion. While there were no differences in incidence of complications between groups, patients treated with drains had significantly longer operative time and length of hospital stay.
Clinical relevance
This could contribute to excessive costs for patients treated with drains, despite the lack of compelling evidence of the advantages of this treatment in the literature and in the current study.
PMCID: PMC4325495  PMID: 25694927
Cervical wound drain; cervical spine fusion; Spine surgery; postoperative complications
21.  The role of closed-suction drainage in preventing epidural fibrosis and its correlation with a new grading system of epidural fibrosis on the basis of MRI 
European Spine Journal  2004;14(4):409-414.
In this study we aimed to evaluate the role of closed-suction drainage on the extent of epidural fibrosis (EF) after lumbar disc surgery and to define a new grading system of epidural fibrosis in these patients, based on magnetic resonance imaging. Seventy-nine patients (34 women, 45 men) with a unilateral, single-level lumbar disc herniation were included in this study. Forty-one patients in whom closed-suction drainage was implanted were compared with 38 patients in whom the drain was not implanted. We have used a new grading system for the extent of epidural fibrosis, on the basis of follow-up magnetic resonance imaging findings. Pain intensity was evaluated by visual analog scale (VAS), and the patients’ function and working ability were measured according to the Prolo functional-economic scale. We conclude that, in patients operated on for unilateral, single-level lumbar disc hernias, implantation of closed-suction drainage into the operation site results in less formation of EF radiologically and yields better clinical outcome.
PMCID: PMC3489202  PMID: 15526220
Epidural fibrosis; Closed-suction drainage; Lumbar disc surgery; Magnetic resonance imaging
22.  Why Cannot Suction Drains Prevent Postoperative Spinal Epidural Hematoma? 
Clinics in Orthopedic Surgery  2016;8(4):407-411.
Postoperative spinal epidural hematoma (POSEH) is different from spontaneous or post-spinal procedure hematoma because of the application of suction drains. However, it appeared that suction drains were not effective for prevention of POSEH in previous studies. The purpose of this study was to test our hypothesis that POSEH can be caused by hypercoagulability.
This was an experimental study. One hundred fifty milliliters of blood was donated from each of the 12 consecutive patients who underwent spine surgery and infused into 3 saline bags of 50 mL each. One of the 3 bags in each set contained 5,000 units of thrombin. All of them were connected to 120 ± 30 mmHg vacuum suctions: drainage was started 8 minutes after connection to the vacuum system for 12 normal blood bags (BV8) and 12 thrombin-containing blood bags (TBV8) and 15 minutes after connection for the remaining 12 normal blood bags (BV15). The amount of initial and remaining hematoma at 20 minutes, 120 minutes, and 24 hours after vacuum application were measured by their weight (g). The primary endpoint was the difference between BV8 and TBV8. The secondary end point was the difference between BV8 and BV15.
The remaining hematoma in TBV8 was significantly greater than that in BV8 at all measurement points: 46.3 ± 12.4 vs. 17.0 ± 1.3 (p = 0.000) at 20 minutes; 33.0 ± 8.2 vs. 16.3 ± 1.2 (p = 0.000) at 120 minutes; and 26.1 ± 4.0 vs. 15.8 ± 1.6 (p = 0.000) at 24 hours after vacuum application. The remaining hematoma of BV15 was significantly greater than that of BV8 at all measurement points: 30.0 ± 12.0 vs. 17.0 ± 1.3 (p = 0.002) at 20 minutes; 24.2 ± 7.6 vs. 16.3 ± 1.2 at 120 minutes (p = 0.002); and 22.2 ± 6.6 vs. 15.8 ± 1.6 (p = 0.004) at 24 hours after vacuum application.
With a suction drain in place, the amount of remaining hematoma could be affected by coagulability. Thrombin-containing local hemostatics and the length of time elapsed before the commencement of suction resulted in hypercoagulability, indicating these two factors could be causes of POSEH.
PMCID: PMC5114253  PMID: 27904723
Postoperative spinal epidural hematoma; Hypercoagulability; Suction drain
23.  Post-operative spinal epidural hematoma causing American Spinal Injury Association B spinal cord injury in patients with suction wound drains 
Subfascial wound suction drains are commonly used after spinal surgery to decrease the incidence of post-operative hematoma. However, there is a paucity of literature regarding their effectiveness.
To report four cases of post-operative spinal epidural hematoma causing massive neurological deficit in patients who had subfascial suction wound drains.
During an 8-year period, a retrospective review of 1750 consecutive adult spinal surgery cases was performed to determine the incidence, commonalities, and outcomes of catastrophic neurological deficit caused by post-operative spinal epidural hematoma.
Epidural hematoma causing major neurological deficit (American Spinal Injury Association B) was identified in 4 out of 1750 patients (0.23%). All four patients in this series had subfascial wound suction drains placed prophylactically at the conclusion of their initial procedure.
Three patients developed massive neurological deficits with the drain in place; one patient had the drain removed at 24 hours and subsequently developed neurological symptoms during the following post-operative day. Significant risk factors for the development of hematoma were identified in two of the four patients. Average time to return to the operating room for hematoma evacuation was 6 hours (range 3–12 hours). Neurological status significantly improved in all four patients after hematoma evacuation.
Post-operative epidural hematoma causing catastrophic neurological deficit is a rare complication after spinal surgery. The presence of suction wound drains does not appear to prevent the occurrence of this devastating complication.
PMCID: PMC3654447  PMID: 23809591
Epidural hematoma; Suction drainage; Spinal cord injuries; Laminectomy; Spinal decompression
24.  “Slalom”: Microsurgical Cross-Over Decompression for Multilevel Degenerative Lumbar Stenosis 
BioMed Research International  2016;2016:9074257.
Objective. Selective, bilateral multisegmental microsurgical decompression of lumbar spinal canal stenosis through separate, alternating cross-over approaches. Indications. Two-segmental and multisegmental degenerative central and lateral lumbar spinal stenosis. Contraindications. None. Surgical Technique. Minimally invasive, muscle, and facet joint-sparing bilateral decompression of the lumbar spinal canal through 2 or more alternating microsurgical cross-over approaches from one side. Results. From December 2010 until December 2015 we operated on 202 patients with 2 or multisegmental stenosis (115 f; 87 m; average age 69.3 yrs, range 51–91 yrs). All patients were suffering from symptoms typical of a degenerative lumbar spinal stenosis. All patients complained about back pain; however the leg symptoms were dominant in all cases. Per decompressed segment, the average OR time was 36 min and the blood loss 45.7 cc. Patients were mobilized 6 hrs postop and hospitalization averaged 5.9 days. A total of 116/202 patients did not need submuscular drainage. 27/202 patients suffered from a complication (13.4%). Dural tears occurred in 3.5%, an epidural hematoma in 5.5%, a deep wound infection in 1.98%, and a temporary radiculopathy postop in 1.5%. Postop follow-up ranged from 12 to 24 months. There was a significant improvement of EQ 5 D, Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), VAS for Back and Leg Pain, and preoperative standing times and walking distances.
PMCID: PMC4967674  PMID: 27504456
25.  Is closed-suction drainage necessary after intradural primary spinal cord tumor surgery? 
European Spine Journal  2012;22(3):577-583.
The efficacy of closed-suction drainage in primary intradural spinal cord tumor surgery has not been addressed. We investigated whether closed-suction drainage is essential after primary intradural spinal cord tumor surgery.
From January 2003 to October 2011, 169 consecutive patients with primary intradural spinal cord tumors operated by a single surgeon were selected. Closed-suction drainage was inserted in patients before August 2007, but was not used after August 2007. After removal of tumor and meticulous hemostasis, the opened dura was closed and made watertight using 4-0 silk with interrupt suture and 1.0 cm3 of surgical glue was applied in common. Closed-suction drainage was inserted below the muscular fascia in 75 patients (group I, M:F = 39:36; 46.20 ± 15.63 years) and was not inserted in 94 patients (group II, M:F = 46:48; 51.05 ± 14.89 years).
Neurological deficit precluding ambulation did not occur in all patients. Between group I and II, there were no significant differences in body mass index (22.75 ± 3.16 vs. 23.51 ± 3.22 kg/m2; p = 0.13), laminectomy level (2.45 ± 1.46 vs. 2.33 ± 1.91; p = 0.65), operation time (260.65 ± 109.08 vs. 231.52 ± 90.08 min; p = 0.06), estimated intraoperative blood loss (456.93 ± 406.62 vs. 383.94 ± 257.25 cm3; p = 0.18), and hospital stay period (9.25 ± 5.01 vs. 9.35 ± 5.75 days; p = 0.91). Two patients in group I underwent revision surgery due to wound problems, while revision surgery was not performed in group II (p = 0.20).
Closed-suction drainage may not be essential after primary intradural spinal cord tumor surgery.
PMCID: PMC3585627  PMID: 23001449
Drainage; Spinal cord neoplasms; Complications; Hematoma; Wound infection; Spine

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