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S Afr Med J. 2008 Sep;98(9):712-5.

Closed suction drainage versus closed simple drainage in the management of modified radical mastectomy wounds.

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Department of Surgery, University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Enugu, Nigeria.



To compare the outcomes of modified radical mastectomy wounds managed by closed wound drainage with suction and without suction.


A prospective randomised trial was conducted at the University College Hospital in Ibadan, and the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital in Enugu. Fifty women who required modified radical mastectomy for breast cancer were randomised to have closed wound drainage with suction (26 patients) and closed wound drainage without suction (24 patients).


There was no significant difference in the intraoperative and postoperative variables. Suction drainage drained less volume of fluid and stayed for a shorter time in the wound, but the differences were not significant. There was no difference in the length of hospital stay, time to stitch removal, and number of dressing changes. More haematomas and wound infections occurred in the simple drain group while more seromas occurred in the suction drain group, but these were not significant. The suction drain was more difficult to manage and the cost was 15 times higher than the simple drainage system.


Closed simple drains are not inferior to suction drains in mastectomy wounds and, considering the cost saving and simplicity of postoperative care, they are preferable to suction drains.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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