Drain placement in retromuscular ventral hernia repair: a systematic review and meta-analysis

P. Marcolin, S. M.P. de Figueiredo, M. M. Constante, V. M.F. de Melo, S. W. de Araújo, R. M.D. Mao, Richard Lu

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Purpose: Drain placement in retromuscular ventral hernia repair is controversial. Although it may reduce seroma formation, there is a concern regarding an increase in infectious complications. We aimed to perform a meta-analysis on retromuscular drain placement in retromuscular ventral hernia repair. Methods: We performed a literature search of Cochrane, Scopus and PubMed databases to identify studies comparing drain placement and the absence of drain in patients undergoing retromuscular ventral hernia repair. Postoperative outcomes were assessed by pooled analysis and meta-analysis. Statistical analysis was performed using RevMan 5.4. Heterogeneity was assessed with I2 statistics. Results: 3808 studies were screened and 48 were thoroughly reviewed. Four studies comprising 1724 patients were included in the analysis. We found that drain placement was significantly associated with a decrease in seroma (OR 0.34; 95% CI 0.12–0.96; P = 0.04; I2 = 78%). Moreover, no differences were noted in surgical site infection, hematoma, surgical site occurrences or surgical site occurrences requiring procedural intervention. Conclusions: Based on the analysis of short-term outcomes, retromuscular drain placement after retromuscular ventral hernia repair significantly reduces seroma and does not increase infectious complications. Further prospective randomized studies are necessary to confirm our findings, evaluate the optimal duration of drain placement, and report longer-term outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)519-526
Number of pages8
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • Drain
  • Incisional hernia
  • SSI
  • SSO
  • Seroma
  • Ventral hernia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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