Routine drainage is not required in reduction mammaplasty

Scott W. Wrye, Dennis R. Banducci, Donald Mackay, William P. Graham, Wesley W. Hall

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56 Scopus citations


To date, there have been no randomized trials documenting the efficacy of closed suction drainage when applied to reduction mammaplasty. Despite this, it has become the standard of care. A recent retrospective review suggests that closed suction drainage is not necessary. This study attempts to resolve this issue in a prospective, randomized fashion. The Institutional Review Board of the College of Medicine of The Pennsylvania State University approved the study. Forty-nine consecutive patients who underwent reduction mammaplasty by the inferior pedicled techniques were enrolled. Each patient was randomized to having a drain in either the right or left breast. The other breast was undrained. Patients were followed up for rate of complications and for patient satisfaction. Their ages ranged from 17 to 62 years, with a mean of 33 years. Weight of reduction from the drained breasts ranged from 360 to 1090 g, with a mean reduction of 675 g. Weight of reduction from the undrained group ranged from 380 to 1011 g, with a mean of 620 g. There were a total of 11 complications in the study. In the drained group, there were six complications out of 49 breasts (partial nipple loss in one, minor wound breakdown in two, fat necrosis in two, and hematoma in one). In the undrained group, there were five complications out of 49 breasts (partial nipple loss in none, minor wound breakdown in three, fat necrosis in one, and hematoma in one). Statistical analysis using the McNemar test revealed no significant difference between the two groups. A questionnaire revealed that the patients preferred the increased early postoperative comfort afforded by the absence of a drain. Performing reduction mammaplasty without the use of closed suction drainage is safe and is preferred by the patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)113-117
Number of pages5
JournalPlastic and reconstructive surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2003

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Surgery


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