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Ann R Coll Surg Engl. 2018 Oct 17:1-10. doi: 10.1308/rcsann.2018.0177. [Epub ahead of print]

A new adaptation for a secure surgical drain placement and a comparison with four common drain fixation methods.

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Cork University Hospital , Cork , Ireland.
Frenchay Hospital , Bristol , UK.
University College Galway , Ireland.
Cork Institute of Technology , Cork , Ireland.



The importance of postoperative drain fixation cannot be overemphasised. There are numerous described techniques for drain fixation. However, to our knowledge, there is no evidence-based comparison between the various techniques of drain fixation used in postoperative management. We describe a new method and compare its reliability with four other commonly used methods.


Five methods were chosen for testing based on current trends in clinical practice: centurion sandal with plastic locking ties, centurion sandal or lattice method, centurion sandal with half-inch Steristrips®, double and multiple looped methods. We used an Instron 8872® tensiometer to apply a measured force to a secured drain. Each fixation method was tested ten times and all fixation methods were performed by the same experienced surgeon. We measured the average number of cycles before failure, the average displacement of the tube at failure and the time needed to apply each fixation method.


The number of cycles completed before failure showed that the centurion sandal method, the centurion sandal with plastic ties and the centurion sandal method with Steristrips had the lowest failure rate. The amount of displacement was the least in the centurion sandal with plastic ties followed by the double-loop method and centurion sandal with Steristrips. There was little difference in the time taken to complete the fixation methods (range 21-33 seconds).


We recommend the use of the centurion sandal with plastic locking ties, centurion sandal with Steristrips followed by the centurion sandal method alone as fixation techniques that are quick to perform, secure and reliable.


Displacement; Drain fixation; Drain reliability; Drain, securement; Surgical drain


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