Klaus Schnake, Matthias Pumberger, Denis Rapper, Achim Götz, Oleksandr Zolotoverkh, Rita Waligora, Max Joseph Scheyerer

January 2022, pp 1 - 9 Review Article Read Full Article 10.1007/s00586-021-07079-6

First Online: 29 January 2022


The considered benefit of surgical drain use after spinal surgery is to prevent local accumulation of a haematoma by decompressing the closed space in the approach of the surgical site. In this context, the aim of the present systematic review was to prove the benefit of the routine use of closed-suction drains.


We conducted a comprehensive systematic review of the literature according to the Preferred reporting items for systematic reviews and meta-analyses (PRISMA) checklist and algorithm.


Following the literature search, 401 potentially eligible investigations were identified. Eventually, a total of 24 studies with 8579 participants were included. Negative suction drainage led to a significantly higher volume of drainage fluid. Drainage duration longer than 72 h may be associated with a higher incidence of Surgical side infections (SSI); however, accompanying antibiotic treatment is unnecessary. Regarding postoperative haematoma and neurological complications, no evidence exists concerning their prevention. Hospital stay length and related costs may be elevated in patients with drainage but appear to depend on surgery type.


With regard to the existing literature, the use of closed-suction drainage in elective thoracolumbar spinal surgery is not associated with any proven benefit for patients and cannot decrease postoperative complications.

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