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Iniabasi U. Ilori
Enembe Oku
Ikpeme A. Ikpeme
Anthony M. Udosen
Ngim E. Ngim
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Iniabasi U. Ilori
Enembe Oku
Ikpeme A. Ikpeme
Anthony M. Udosen
Ngim E. Ngim
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Global Journal of Orthopedics and Physical Therapy Practice

Vol. 2(2)

Full Length research Paper

Prophylactic Wound Drainage in Orthopaedics: A Comparative Evaluation of Closed Suction Drainage versus No-Drainage in a Nigerian Teaching Hospital

Ikpeme A. Ikpeme1*, Ngim E. Ngim1, Iniabasi U. Ilori2, Enembe Oku3, Anthony M. Udosen1

1Departments of Orthopaedics & Traumatology, University of Calabar Teaching Hospital, Calabar, Nigeria

2Departments of Anaesthesiology, University of Calabar Teaching Hospital, Calabar, Nigeria

3Departments of Community Medicine, University of Calabar Teaching Hospital, Calabar, Nigeria


Background: Surgical wound drainage is practiced routinely by many orthopaedic surgeons despite studies that chal-lenge the practice. Among proponents, the advantages of drainage include prevention of haematoma and/or seroma formation which potentially reduces the chances for infection, prevention of wound swelling, prevention of compart-ment syndrome and improvement of the local wound environment. Opponents argue that prophylactic wound drainage confers no significant advantages, increases the risk of infection and the need for blood transfusion with the attendant risks of this therapy. Aim: To ascertain if prophylactic drainage of clean orthopaedic wounds confer any significant ad-vantages by evaluating wound and systemic factors in two treatment groups. Patients and Methods: A prospective analysis of 62 patients was undergoing clean orthopaedic procedures. The patients were randomly assigned to a “No drain” (study) group and a “drain” (control) group. Each group had 31 patients. Surgeons were blinded to the randomi-zation process and the evaluation of clinical outcomes. The parameters assessed included pain, superficial wound infec-tion, the need for post-operative transfusion, wound leakage, dressing changes and the surgery-discharge interval. Data was analysed using SPSS statistics version 20 (IBM Corp., New York). Results: There were no significant differences in the demographic data. Femoral fractures were the commonest indication for surgery (43.55%), and plate and screw osteosynthesis was the commonest procedure (48.4% in the drain group and 67.7% in the no-drain group). There was a significantly higher need for post-operative transfusion in the drain group (22.6% against 0%) as well as a significantly prolonged capillary refill time (2.39 + 0.56 secs versus 2.03 + 0.41 secs). Although not statistically significant, there were four cases (12.8%) of superficial wound infection in the drain group and 1 case (3.2%) in the no -drain group. Conclusion: Prophylactic wound drainage confers no significant advantages over no drainage and may contribute to increased treatment costs through an increased post-operative transfusion requirements. 

Keywords: Wound Drain; No-Drain; Complications; Orthopaedics