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Are drains required following a routine primary total joint arthroplasty?

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The purpose of this study was to evaluate the benefits of suction drainage following primary total joint arthroplasty. We reviewed primary total hip and knee replacements separately and together in 126 consecutive patients. There were 63 patients each in the drainage and no drainage groups. Sex distribution and anticoagulant use were similar in the two groups. All patients underwent the same operative technique and method of closure. The mean postoperative fall in haemoglobin was 3.2 and 3.3 gm/dl in the drainage and no drainage groups respectively. There was no statistically significant difference between the two groups with regard to blood transfusion requirements, rehabilitation time, postoperative complications such as hypotension and wound infections (p>0.05). The average rehabilitation time in both groups was 8–9 days. The routine use of a suction drain is unnecessary after an uncomplicated total joint arthroplasty.


Le sujet de cette étude était d’évaluer les bénéfices du drainage aspiratif après arthroplastie primaire. Nous avons revus 126 cas consécutifs d’arthroplastie totale de la hanche et du genou. Il y avait 63 patients dans chacun des groupes, drainés ou non drainés. La technique opératoire était la même chez tous les patients et le genre ainsi que le traitement anti-coagulant étaient similaires dans les deux groupes. La chute de l’hémoglobine était respectivement de 3,2 et 3,3 g/dl dans les groupes drainés et non drainés. Il n’y avait pas de différence significative entre les deux groupes pour la nécessité de transfusion, le temps de récupération, et les complications post-opératoires (p>0,05). Le temps moyen de récupération dans les deux groupes était de 8–9 jours. Le drainage aspiratif n’est pas nécessaire après une arthroplastie totale non compliquée.

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Correspondence to Skand Kumar.

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Kumar, S., Penematsa, S. & Parekh, S. Are drains required following a routine primary total joint arthroplasty?. International Orthopaedics (SICO 31, 593–596 (2007).

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