The use of fibrin sealant after total thyroidectomy for benign disease obviates the need for routine drainage. Results of a randomized controlled trial

Hippokratia 2011; 15(3):247-251

S. Sozen, O. Topuz, M. Tukenmez, M. Keceli


Background: Drains are usually left after thyroid surgery to prevent formation of hematoma and seroma in the thyroid bed. This prospective randomized clinical trial was conducted to evaluate the necessity of drainage after total thyroidectomy for benign thyroidal disorders.
Methods: The patients were assigned randomly into two groups (group 1: with suction drain, group 2: fibrin glue). In the study, operating time, postoperative pain, the total amount of intramuscular analgesic administration, hospital stay, complications (such as wound infection, seroma, bleeding, hematoma, recurrent laryngeal nerve palsy or hypoparathyroidism), were recorded.
Results: The drained group (group 1) consisted of 2 men and 48 women with a mean age of 47.76±11.22 years. The nondrained (plus fibrin sealant)( group 2) (comprised of 10 men and 40 women with a mean age of 44.72±11.32 years. There was no significant difference in the gender, age, hormonal status and histopathological results of the patients between the two groups (P=0.18, P=0.36, P=0.28 and P=0.40, respectively). The operations performed were total thyroidectomy in all patients. Twenty-five patients (50%) in the non-drained group did not need intramuscular analgesic, whereas 15 patients (30%) did not in the drained group (P=0.01). In addition, the mean amount of intramuscular analgesic requirement was significantly less in the non-drained group than in the drained group (P=0.02). The complication rates were similar between the two groups. One case of hematoma (2%), two cases of seroma (4%) and three cases of transient hypoparathyroidism (6%) occurred in the non-drained group, whereas one case of hematoma (2%), two cases of seroma (4%), two cases of wound infections (4%) and two cases of transient hypoparathyroidism (4%) occurred in the drained group (P=0.69). No patient needed surgical revision or re-operation for any complication and all complications were successfully managed conservatively.
Conclusion: Routine drainage of thyroid bed following thyroid surgery may not be necessary. Not draining the wound results in lesser morbidity and decreased hospital stay.