Incisional hernias are caused by the failure of the wall of the abdomen to close after abdominal surgery. This leaves a hole through which the viscera (guts) protrude. Hernias are repaired with further surgery, during which the insertion of a drain to remove excess fluid is common practice. It is not known whether or not these drains help the wounds to heal. Drains may produce undesired results such as an increased risk of infection, pain, and an increased length of hospital stay after surgery. We reviewed all the available trial evidence to see whether drains help or hinder recovery after operations for incisional hernia repair. We found that no trials that compared people who had drains inserted for this type of surgery against those who did not. One trial compared two types of drain against each other, and both models of drain performed similarly well. Further trials need to be carried out before being able to answer the question about the benefits, or otherwise, of drains inserted during repair of incisional hernias.
Using wound drains after incisional hernia repair
17 December 2013
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