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Evaluation of fluid production and seroma formation after placement of closed suction drains in clean subcutaneous surgical wounds of dogs: 77 cases (2005–2012)

Stephanie L. Shaver DVM1, Geraldine B. Hunt BVSc, MVetClinStud, PhD2, and Scott W. Kidd DVM3
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  • 1 Department of Surgical and Radiological Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California-Davis, Davis, CA 95616.
  • | 2 Department of Surgical and Radiological Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California-Davis, Davis, CA 95616.
  • | 3 Department of Surgical and Radiological Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California-Davis, Davis, CA 95616.

Abstract

Objective—To evaluate fluid production and factors associated with seroma formation after placement of closed suction drains in clean surgical wounds in dogs.

Design—Retrospective case series.

Animals—77 client-owned dogs with a subcutaneous closed suction drain placed following a clean surgical procedure.

Procedures—Medical records (January 2005 to June 2012) were reviewed, and signalment, site of surgery and underlying disease process, histologic evaluation results, total drain fluid production, fluid production rate (mL/kg/h) at 12-hour intervals, cytologic evaluation of drain fluid, and development of dehiscence, infection, or seroma were recorded. Associations among variables were evaluated.

Results—The most common complication was dehiscence (n = 18), followed by seroma (14) and infection (4). Dogs that developed a seroma had significantly greater total drain fluid volume relative to body weight and greater fluid production rate at 24 and 72 hours as well as the last time point measured before drain removal. Dogs in which drains were removed when fluid production rate was > 0.2 mL/kg/h (0.09 mL/lb/h) were significantly more likely to develop a seroma.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Seroma formation was more common in dogs with a higher rate of fluid production relative to body weight, but was not associated with the number of days that a closed suction drain remained in situ. Dogs may be at greater risk of seroma formation if their drains are removed while drainage is still occurring at a rate > 0.2 mL/kg/h.

Abstract

Objective—To evaluate fluid production and factors associated with seroma formation after placement of closed suction drains in clean surgical wounds in dogs.

Design—Retrospective case series.

Animals—77 client-owned dogs with a subcutaneous closed suction drain placed following a clean surgical procedure.

Procedures—Medical records (January 2005 to June 2012) were reviewed, and signalment, site of surgery and underlying disease process, histologic evaluation results, total drain fluid production, fluid production rate (mL/kg/h) at 12-hour intervals, cytologic evaluation of drain fluid, and development of dehiscence, infection, or seroma were recorded. Associations among variables were evaluated.

Results—The most common complication was dehiscence (n = 18), followed by seroma (14) and infection (4). Dogs that developed a seroma had significantly greater total drain fluid volume relative to body weight and greater fluid production rate at 24 and 72 hours as well as the last time point measured before drain removal. Dogs in which drains were removed when fluid production rate was > 0.2 mL/kg/h (0.09 mL/lb/h) were significantly more likely to develop a seroma.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Seroma formation was more common in dogs with a higher rate of fluid production relative to body weight, but was not associated with the number of days that a closed suction drain remained in situ. Dogs may be at greater risk of seroma formation if their drains are removed while drainage is still occurring at a rate > 0.2 mL/kg/h.

Contributor Notes

Dr. Kidd's present address is Pet Emergency and Specialist Centre, 1103 Dandenong Rd, Malvern East, VIC 3145, Australia.

Address correspondence to Dr. Hunt (gbhunt@ucdavis.edu).