Patient-performed at-home surgical drain removal is safe and feasible following hernia repair and abdominal wall reconstruction

Jordan O. Bray, Stephanie O'Connor, Thomas L. Sutton, Nicole M. Santucci, Mohamed Elsheikh, Alina N. Bazarian, Sean B. Orenstein, Vahagn C. Nikolian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Traditionally, surgical drains are considered a relative contraindication to telemedicine-based postoperative care. We sought to assess the safety, feasibility, and outcomes of an at-home patient-performed surgical drain removal pilot program. Methods: A prospective cohort study among patients who were discharged with surgical drains was performed. Patients discharged with drains were given the option for in-clinic, provider-performed removal, or at-home, patient-performed drain removal. Patient demographics, health characteristics, perioperative metrics, and operative outcomes were compared and analyzed. Results: A total of 68 encounters with drain removal were included (at-home: 28%, n = 19; in-clinic: 72%, n = 49), with both groups having similar demographics, except for age (median age of telemedicine-based at-home: 50 vs in-clinic: 62 years, p = 0.03). Patients who opted into at-home, patient-performed drain removal were more likely to have drain removal occur earlier (9 vs 13 days for in-clinic, p < 0.001). In-clinic removal resulted in increased encounters with surgical nursing staff and increased travel time, with no significant difference in complication burden. Conclusions: Patient-performed at-home drain removal is safe and allows for more timely drain removal.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)388-393
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican journal of surgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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