, Volume 37, Issue 5, pp 1021-1027
Date: 15 Feb 2013

Selective Policy of No Drain after Pancreaticoduodenectomy Is a Valid Option in Patients at Low Risk of Pancreatic Fistula: A Case-Control Analysis

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access



Abdominal drainage is routinely performed after pancreaticoduodenectomy (PD), but this policy has recently been challenged. The aim of the present study was to assess whether abdominal drainage could be omitted after PD in patients at low risk of pancreatic fistula (PF).


From 2009 to 2011, 27 consecutive patients underwent PD without abdominal drainage. Their preoperative characteristics and postoperative outcomes were compared to those of 27 matched patients undergoing PD with prophylactic drainage. Patients were matched 1:1 in terms of demographic data, preoperative weight loss, preoperative biliary drainage, surgical indication, and main risk factors of PF (pancreatic texture, main duct size, and body mass index).


Overall morbidity rates (no drainage, 56 % vs. drainage, 70 %; p < 0.4) and operative mortality (1 patient in each group) were similar in both groups. The two groups did not differ significantly in terms of delayed gastric emptying (15 vs. 11 %; p = 0.68), and chylous ascites (4 vs. 15 %; p = 0.35). Radiological or surgical interventions for surgical complications were required in 2 patients (1 in each group). Pancreatic fistula rate (0 vs. 22 %; p = 0.009) and hospital stay (10 vs. 15 days; p = 0.004) were significantly reduced in the no drainage group as compared to the drainage group. The hospital readmission rate was similar in the two groups (no drainage, 3.7 vs. 0 %; p = 0.31).


This study suggests that abdominal drainage should not be considered routinely after PD in patients at low risk of PF. A no drain policy may reduce hospital stay after PD.