Use of primary surgical drains in synchronous resection for colorectal liver metastases: a NSQIP analysis of current practice paradigm

Elliott J. Yee, Mohammed H. Al-Temimi, Katelyn F. Flick, E. Molly Kilbane, Trang K. Nguyen, Nicholas J. Zyromski, C. Max Schmidt, Attila Nakeeb, Michael G. House, Eugene P. Ceppa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: There are no studies examining the use of subhepatic drains after simultaneous resection of synchronous colorectal liver metastases (sCRLM). This study aimed to (1) describe the current practices regarding primary drain placement, (2) evaluate drain efficacy in mitigating postoperative complications, and (3) determine impact of drain maintenance duration on patient outcomes. Methods: The ACS-NSQIP targeted data from 2014 to 2017 were analyzed. Propensity score of surgical drain versus no drain cohorts was performed. Main study outcomes were mortality, major morbidity, organ/space surgical site infection (SSI), secondary drain/aspiration procedure, and any septic events. Additional univariate/multivariate logistic analyses were performed to identify associations with drain placement and duration. Major hepatectomy was defined as formal right hepatectomy and any trisectionectomy. Results: 584 combined liver and colorectal resection (CRR) cases were identified. Open partial hepatectomy with colectomy was the most common procedure (70%, n = 407). Nearly 40% of patients received surgical drains (n = 226). Major hepatectomy, lower serum albumin, and no intraoperative portal vein occlusion (Pringle maneuver) were significantly associated with drain placement (p < 0.05). In the matched cohort (n = 190 in each arm), patients with surgical drains experienced higher rates of major morbidity (30% vs 12%), organ/space SSI (16% vs 6%), postoperative drain/aspiration procedures (9% vs 3%), and sepsis/septic shock (12% vs 4%) (all p < 0.05). Patients with severely prolonged drain removal, defined as after postoperative day 13 (POD13), had higher risk of postoperative morbidity compared to those with earlier drain removal (p < 0.01). 30-day mortality rate was not significantly different between the two groups. Conclusion: Primary surgical drains were placed in a substantial percentage of patients undergoing combined resection for sCRLM. This case-matched analysis suggested that surgical drains are associated with an increase in postoperative morbidity. Postoperative drain maintenance past 13 days is associated with worse outcomes compared to earlier removal.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4275-4284
Number of pages10
JournalSurgical endoscopy
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2021


  • Colorectal liver metastases
  • Drain
  • Synchronous resection


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