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Original Research

A simple, novel technique for fixing Penrose drains in minor surgeries, with advantages for remote outpatient clinics: a retrospective comparison with conventional drain fixation in North Ibaraki, Japan

Submitted: 30 July 2016
Revised: 21 April 2017
Accepted: 9 May 2017
Published: 3 October 2017

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Author(s) : Shibuya Y, Matsumoto G, Sasaki M, Sasaki K, Adachi K, Sekido M.

Citation: Shibuya Y, Matsumoto G, Sasaki M, Sasaki K, Adachi K, Sekido M.  A simple, novel technique for fixing Penrose drains in minor surgeries, with advantages for remote outpatient clinics: a retrospective comparison with conventional drain fixation in North Ibaraki, Japan. Rural and Remote Health (Internet) 2017; 17: 4159. Available: http://www.rrh.org.au/articles/subviewnew.asp?ArticleID=4159 (Accessed 18 October 2017)

ABSTRACT

Introduction: In rural areas with few doctors, Penrose drains in minor surgeries for soft tissue trauma or small subcutaneous tumors are sometimes avoided, even though the drain would prevent hematoma, because of the limited availability of professional postsurgical care. The authors developed a simple fixation method for Penrose drains that can be used even in remote areas where a doctor is not present to remove the drain. A retrospective study was conducted to compare this new method of fixing Penrose drains with instances in which the Penrose drain was fixed to skin by conventional suturing.
Methods: The medical records of patients who underwent minor surgeries using Penrose drains were reviewed. The surgeries were performed from April 2012 to March 2015 in remote outpatient clinics in Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan. The cases were divided into two groups: those using the new method, in which the Penrose drains were sewn onto the wound dressings and could be automatically removed while changing the dressing, and those in which the Penrose drains were conventionally fixed to the skin and removed one or several days after surgery by another doctor at the outpatient clinic. The rates of drain-related complications and of automatic drain removal (ie removal without a doctor’s assistance) between the two groups were compared.
Results: A total of 54 Penrose drains used for 48 lesions in 44 patients (25 men, 19 women) in the new-method group, and 36 Penrose drains for 25 lesions in 21 patients (12 men, 9 women) in the conventional-method (control) group were analyzed. All 54 Penrose drains in the new-method group were removed automatically, while none of the 36 drains in the control group were removed automatically. There were no drain-related complications, such as massive hematoma, retrograde infection, seroma, or drain breakage or straying, in any of the new-method or control cases.
Conclusions: This new Penrose-drain fixation method is safe and is particularly suitable for minor surgeries in rural areas where there are no resident doctors. The wide use of this method for appropriate minor surgeries in doctorless rural areas has the potential to reduce surgical complications and the time burden for both patients and surgeons. 

Keywords: hematoma, Japan, Penrose drain fixation, shortage of rural doctors, small surgeries, wound dressing.

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