see also Jackson Pratt drain.
Wound suction drains have been used to decrease the rate of postoperative hematoma formation and thus wound infections for many years throughout all surgical subspecialties. Although the use of surgical drains dates back to the years of Hippocrates 1) , in the orthopedic literature these drains have not been shown to be beneficial in decreasing the rates of these complications, especially in orthopedic procedures including fracture fixation or arthroplasty surgeries. 2) 3) 4) 5) However, these drains are still commonly used throughout the orthopedic community, including spine surgery.
In spine surgery, the controversy of suction drains are profound because it decreases the rare but devastating complication of postoperative spinal epidural hematoma, but it may have a hypothetical increase in the risk of infection 6) 7).