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Routine drain placement in Roux-en-Y gastric bypass: an expanded retrospective comparative study of 755 patients and review of the literature.

Obesity Surgery 2012 January
Routine drain use after laparoscopic Roux-en-y gastric bypass (LRYGB) is still practiced by many bariatric surgeons. After a patient in our program experienced intestinal obstruction secondary to a drain, we reevaluated our practice and hypothesized drains would be of no benefit and potentially harmful after LRYGB. Retrospective record review of all patients undergoing LRYGB from August 2005 to August 2009 was performed. As we changed our practice in December 2006, we have two comparable groups: one with a drain placed at surgery and one without. All operations were otherwise performed in an identical fashion by three fellowship-trained university surgeons. We compared outcomes between the two groups, particularly regarding gastrojejunal (GJ) leaks. Jejunojejunal (JJ) leaks, unlikely to be captured by these drains, were not studied. A total of 755 LRYGBs were performed during the study period, the first 272 patients with routine drains and the subsequent 483 without. Demographics were statistically similar between the two groups. There were four GJ leaks in the drain group (1.47%) and three in the nondrain group (0.62%). Among the drain patients, two required operation and two were treated nonoperatively. Among the nondrain patients, two required operation and one was treated nonoperatively. The leak and reoperation rates between the groups were not statistically different (p = 0.154 and p = 0.514). Routine drains likely have no benefit after LRYGB. Clinical parameters such as tachycardia, fever, oliguria, and increasing abdominal pain should guide further investigation for and treatment of a leak.

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