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The American Society of Breast Surgeons.
Annals of Surgical Oncology

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Omitting Postoperative Wound Drainage After Mastectomy With Skin-Flap Quilting

B. ten Wolde MD, F. F. R. Strobbe BSc, M. Schlooz-de Vries MD, F. J. H. van den Wildenberg MD, PhD, M. Keemers-Gels MD, PhD, J. H. W. de Wilt MD, PhD, L. J. A. Strobbe MD, PhD
Breast Oncology
Volume 26, Issue 9 / September , 2019

Abstract

Background

Seroma is the most frequent complication after mastectomy (ME) and axillary lymph node dissection (ALND). The quilting suture technique, in which skin flaps are sutured to the underlying muscle, was previously investigated and found to reduce seroma incidence after ME and ALND. This study aimed to investigate whether postoperative wound drainage can safely be omitted when quilting sutures are applied.

Methods

Two groups with a total of 251 consecutive patients who underwent ME, ALND, or both were retrospectively compared. The first group underwent quilting sutures with wound vacuum drainage, and the second group underwent quilting sutures without wound drainage. The primary outcome was the incidence of postoperative clinically significant seroma (CSS). The secondary outcomes were the incidence of postoperative infection, bleeding complications, wound dehiscence, and flap necrosis.

Results

The group without a postoperative drain (n = 166) had a significantly lower CSS incidence (8.4%) than the group with a postoperative drain (n = 85, 21.2%) (p < 0.05). In the multivariate analysis, no significant predictors were found for seroma formation. Wound complications significantly decreased, from 31.8% in the group with a drain group to 17.5% in the group without a drain (p < 0.05).

Conclusion

This study showed that the postoperative drain can be omitted when quilting sutures are applied in ME, ALND, or both. This facilitates day care mastectomy, eliminating drain-related care, discomfort, and related expenses.

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