Drains in Thyroid and Parathyroid Surgery: Are They Necessary?

Mark K. Wax, Algis P. Valiulis, Michael K. Hurst

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Objective: To assess the postoperative complications in patients who underwent elective thyroid or parathyroid surgery without postoperative drainage. Design: During a 6-year period all patients who met study criteria were prospectively evaluated. Setting: General community and tertiary referral center. Patients: Fifty-seven patients undergoing thyroid surgery and eight patients undergoing parathyroid surgery were evaluated. Twenty-four patients were excluded because drains were placed postoperatively. Reasons for exclusion included presence of a large dead space, substernal goiter, extensive neck dissection for malignant neoplasm, and large goiters. Results: Major complications consisted of a hematoma requiring reexploration in one patient, and a recurrent nerve palsy in one patient. Minor complications consisted of temporary hypocalcemia (three), seroma (one), and superior flap edema that resolved in 3 months (20). Conclusion: Routine prophylactic drainage in a select patient population is unnecessary after uncomplicated thyroid or parathyroid surgery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)981-983
Number of pages3
JournalArchives of Otolaryngology--Head and Neck Surgery
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1995
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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