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Drain Management Following Distal Pancreatectomy

Characterization of Contemporary Practice and Impact of Early Removal

Seykora, Thomas F. BA*; Liu, Jason B. MD, MS†,‡; Maggino, Laura MD*,§; Pitt, Henry A. MD; Vollmer, Charles M. Jr. MD*

doi: 10.1097/SLA.0000000000003205
Original Article: PDF Only

Mini Early drain removal has yet to be explored following distal pancreatectomy. Following analysis of ACS-NSQIP data, early removal demonstrated significantly better outcomes when compared to late removal and drain omission. Multivariable analysis revealed early removal had reduced odds for pancreatic fistula and death or serious morbidity compared to drain omission, while late drain removal conversely displayed increased odds.

Objective: To explore contemporary drain management practices and examine the impact of early removal following distal pancreatectomy (DP).

Background: Despite accruing evidence supporting its benefit following pancreatoduodenectomy, early drain removal after DP has yet to be explored.

Methods: The American College of Surgeons’ National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (ACS-NSQIP) was queried for elective DPs from 2014 to 2017. When possible, data were linked to survey responses regarding drain management from hepato-pancreato-biliary (HPB) surgeons in the ACS-NSQIP HPB Collaborative conducted in 2017. The independent association between timing of drain removal and patients’ outcomes was investigated through multivariable analyses and propensity-score matching.

Results: Of 5581 DPs identified, 4708 (84.4%) patients received intraoperative drains and early removal (≤ POD3) was performed in 716 (15.2%). Drain fluid amylase was recorded on POD1 for 1285 (27.3%) patients who received drains. The overall rates of death or serious morbidity (DSM) and clinically-relevant fistula (CR-POPF) were 19.5% and 17.0%. Early removal demonstrated significantly better outcomes when compared to late removal and no drain placement for: DSM, CR-POPF, delayed gastric emptying, percutaneous drainage, length of stay, and readmission. On multivariable analysis, early removal demonstrated reduced odds of developing DSM (OR = 0.41, 95% CI = 0.26–0.65) and CR-POPF (OR = 0.33, 95% CI = 0.18–0.61) compared to no drain placement, while late removal displayed increased odds for CR-POPF (OR = 2.15, 95% CI = 1.27–3.61) when compared to no drain placement. After propensity-score matching, early removal was associated with reduced odds for CR-POPF (OR = 0.35, 95% CI = 0.17–0.73).

Conclusion: Although not yet widely implemented, early drain removal after distal pancreatectomy is associated with better outcomes. This study demonstrates the potential benefits of early removal and provides a substrate to define best practices and improve the quality of care for DP.

*Department of Surgery, University of Pennsylvania, Perelman School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA

Division of Research and Optimal Patient Care, American College of Surgeons, Chicago, IL

Department of Surgery, University of Chicago Hospitals, Chicago, IL

§Department of Surgery, University of Verona, The Pancreas Institute, Verona, Italy

Department of Surgery, Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University, Philadelphia, PA.

Reprints: Charles M. Vollmer, Jr., MD, Department of Surgery, University of Pennsylvania, Perelman School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA 19104. E-mail:

The authors report no conflicts of interest.

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