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    Closed suction drains (CSD) are commonly used in ventral hernia repair (VHR), with or without prolonged postoperative prophylactic antibiotics (PPA) for the duration of their use. We examine the evidence that PPA with CSD reduce surgical site infection (SSI) in patients undergoing VHR. We also examine the evidence assessing the association between SSI and CSD in VHR. A systematic review of PubMed, CIHNL, and Cochrane databases was performed to identify studies analyzing rates of SSI with CSD in patients undergoing abdominal VHR and related procedures with or without the concomitant use of PPA. The primary outcome was the rate of SSI. Five studies totaling 772 patients were identified, 525 patients were confirmed to have CSD, and 434 patients received prolonged antibiotics while drains were in place. PPA had no significant effect on SSI in two studies and were associated with decreased SSI in one study (Odds ratio 0.235, 95% confidence interval 0.090-0.617, P = 0.003). Two studies documented a higher rate of SSI in patients with CSD (79% vs 49% and 19% vs 10%) on univariate analysis. One study demonstrated a very low risk of SSI despite CSD (4.2%) and another demonstrated no increased risk with or without CSD. The use of drains is not clearly associated with an increased risk of SSI in VHR, and there is limited evidence to support antibiotic use while the drains are in place to decrease the potential risk. Prospective randomized studies are needed to more clearly assess these associations.


    Eric Weiss, Paul McClelland, James Krupp, Murad Karadsheh, Mary Sue Brady. Use of Prolonged Prophylactic Antibiotics with Closed Suction Drains in Ventral Abdominal Hernia Repair. The American surgeon. 2019 Apr 01;85(4):403-408

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    PMID: 31043202

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