Surgeons are still following the old habit of routine subhepatic drainage following laparoscopic cholecystectomy (LC). This study aims to compare the outcome of subhepatic drainage with no drainage after LC. This prospective study was conducted in two phases. Phase I was open, randomized controlled trial (RCT), conducted in Civil Hospital Karachi, from August 2004 to June 2005. Phase II was descriptive case series, conducted in author’s practice hospitals of Karachi, from July 2005 to December 2009. In phase I, 170 patients with chronic calculous cholecystitis underwent LC. Patients were divided into two groups, subhepatic drainage (group A: 79 patients) or no drainage (group B: 76 patients). The rest 15 patients were excluded either due to conversion or elective subhepatic drainage. In phase II, 218 consecutive patients were enrolled, who underwent LC with no subhepatic drainage. Duration of operation, character, and amount of drain fluid (if placed), postoperative ultrasound for subhepatic collection, postoperative chest X-ray for the measurement of subdiaphragmatic air, postoperative pain, postoperative nausea/vomiting, duration of hospital stay, and preoperative or postoperative complications were noted and analyzed. Duration of operation and hospital stay was slightly longer in group A patients (P values 0.002 and 0.029, respectively); postoperative pain perception, nausea/vomiting, and postoperative complications were nearly same in both groups (P value 0.064, 0.078, and 0.003, respectively). Subhepatic fluid collection was more in group A (P = 0.002), whereas subdiaphragmatic air collection was more in group B (P = 0.003). Phase II results were nearly similar to group B patients in phase I. Routine subhepatic drainage after LC is not necessary in uncomplicated cases.
Subhepatic drainage Drains versus no drains Cholecystectomy Laparoscopic cholecystectomy