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Closed-Suction Drains After Subcutaneous Mastectomy for Gynecomastia: Do They Reduce Complications?

  • Chao, Jerry W.1, 2
  • Raveendran, Janani A.2
  • Maly, Connor3
  • Rogers, Gary1
  • Boyajian, Michael1
  • Oh, Albert K.1
  • 1 Children’s National Medical Center, Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, 111 Michigan Avenue, NW, Washington, DC, 20010, USA , Washington (United States)
  • 2 The George Washington University, School of Medicine and Health Sciences, 2300 I Street NW, Washington, DC, 20052, USA , Washington (United States)
  • 3 Georgetown University, School of Medicine, 3900 Reservoir Rd NW, Washington, DC, 20007, USA , Washington (United States)
Published Article
Aesthetic Plastic Surgery
Springer US
Publication Date
Aug 25, 2017
DOI: 10.1007/s00266-017-0959-z
Springer Nature


BackgroundIn cases of refractory gynecomastia, surgical excision of excess glandular breast tissue is often warranted. Closed-suction drain placement is commonplace; however, the effect of drains on preventing complications after male breast surgery has not been fully elucidated in the literature.ObjectiveTo investigate the effect of drains on reducing seroma and hematoma after subcutaneous mastectomy for gynecomastia.MethodsRetrospective chart review of patients undergoing subcutaneous mastectomy for gynecomastia over a 10-year period. Charts were reviewed for demographics, BMI, comorbidities, type of local anesthesia, specimen weight, use of liposuction, and placement of drains. Outcomes were determined by seroma or hematoma in the 30-day postoperative period.ResultsA total of 163 breasts were studied (group I = no-drain, n = 46; group II = drain, n = 117). Group I had a higher rate of clinically significant seromas requiring needle aspiration than group II (6.5 vs 0%, p = 0.0214). There was no difference in rates of hematoma (group I vs II, 2.2 vs 6.0%, p = 0.443) and total fluid collections (group I vs II, 19.6 vs 16.2%, p = 0.647). BMI, use of local anesthesia, specimen weight, and use of liposuction were not significantly associated with postoperative complications.ConclusionsClosed-suction drains may reduce rates of clinically significant seromas requiring needle aspiration. Though drains carry their own pertinent adverse effects (e.g., patient discomfort and anxiety, cost, and additional clinic visits), there remains no universal standard of care and surgeon practices vary widely. Given the potential to reduce seroma rates, we recommend that surgeons consider placing drains and discuss with patients the benefits and risks of drains after surgical treatment of gynecomastia.Level of Evidence IVThis journal requires that authors assign a level of evidence to each article. For a full description of these Evidence-Based Medicine ratings, please refer to Table of Contents or the online Instructions to Authors

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