Current practice patterns of drain usage amongst UK and Irish surgeons performing bilateral breast reductions: Evidence down the drain
Introduction: Bilateral breast reduction (BBR) is one of the most frequently performed female breast operations. Despite no evidence supporting efficacy of drain usage in BBRs, postoperative insertion is common. Recent high quality evidence demonstrating potential harm from drain use has subsequently challenged this traditional practice. The aim of this study is to assess the current practice patterns of drains usage by Plastic & Reconstructive and Breast Surgeons in UK and Ireland performing BBRs. Method: An 18 question survey was created evaluating various aspects of BBR practice. UK and Irish Plastic & Reconstructive and Breast Surgeons were invited to participate by an email containing a link to a web-based survey. Statistical analysis was performed with student t-test and chi-square test. Results: Two hundred and eleven responding surgeons were analysed, including 80.1% (171/211) Plastic Surgeons and 18.9% (40/211) Breast Surgeons. Of the responding surgeons, 71.6% (151/211) routinely inserted postoperative drains, for a mean of 1.32 days. Drains were used significantly less by surgeons performing ≥20 BBRs (p = 0.02). With the majority of BBRs performed as an inpatient procedure, there was a trend towards less drain usage in surgeons performing this procedure as an outpatient; however, this was not statistically significant (p = 0.07). Conclusion: Even with the high level of evidence demonstrating the safety of BBR without drains, they are still routinely utilised. In an era of evidence- based medicine, surgeons performing breast reductions must adopt the results from scientific research into their clinical practice.