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S Afr J Surg. 2000 May;38(1):9-12.

Drainage at caesarean section--a randomised prospective study.

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  • 1Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Medical Research Council/University of Natal Pregnancy Hypertension Research Unit, University of Natal, Durban.



To determine the efficacy of wound drainage at caesarean section with a view to reducing postoperative wound morbidity.


King Edward VIII Hospital, Durban, South Africa.


Four hundred and forty women undergoing emergency caesarean section using the transverse suprapubic incision were randomised to receive either drainage or non-drainage of the wound. Wound drains were removed 48 hours after surgery and patients were seen daily until the time of discharge from hospital. Wound inflammation, wound infection and duration of hospital stay were assessed in both groups.


Seventy-two of the 440 patients (16.4%) developed wound morbidity ranging from induration, serous, sanguinous and purulent discharge to haematoma formation and wound dehiscence. Of the 217 patients who received drains, 37 showed evidence of wound morbidity (17.1%), as opposed to 35 of the 223 who were not drained (15.7%) (P = 0.701).


No significant advantages could be demonstrated for routine drainage in terms of wound inflammation, wound infection, haematoma formation or duration of hospital stay.

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