Comparison of Non-continuous Versus Continuous Drain Use Following Thoracolumbar Spine Surgery

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Kanthika Wasinpongwanich, MD
Weera Sudprasert, MD
Terdpong Tanaviriyachai, MD
Kongtush Choovongkomol, MD


Purpose: To evaluate the efficacy and safety of non-continuous drain use following posterior instrumented fusion in thoracolumbar spinal injury.

Methods: Retrospective identification of patients with thoracolumbar spinal injury operated posterior instrumented fusion during the period 2013-2016 into 2 groups. Group I (non-continuous drain use): received 2-hour temporary drain clamping and group II (continuous drain use): no clamping. The groups were evaluated the amount of drain content in 8th, 16th, 24th, 48th, and 72nd hour. The entire period of drain use, the hemoglobin level change, post-operative Packed Red Cell (PRC) transfusion, Visual Analogue Scale (VAS), and wound complications between two groups were also compared.

Results: A total of 56 patients were included; their age was 51.50 years and 36 years on average in non-continuous drain group and continuous drain group retrospectively. 53.6% and 75% were male in non-continuous drain group and continuous drain group retrospectively. The drain content in 8-hour postoperative period and hemoglobin level change were significantly lower in the non-continuous drain group than the continuous group whereas the post-operative PRC transfusion, VAS, hospital length stay, total drain content, total drain use time and wound complications were not different between two groups.

Conclusion: The use of non-continuous drain following posterior instrumented fusion in thoracolumbar spinal injury can reduce patients’ post-operative hemoglobin level difference. However, there was no statistically significant difference in term of postoperative blood transfusion, VAS, total drain content, entire period of drain use, the length of hospital stay as well as wound complications.


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