Prophylactic drain placement during major abdominal surgery has been widely practiced without clear scientific evidence to support it. We hypothesized that prophylactic drain placement is not necessary in gastric cancer surgery. A randomized prospective trial was conducted between February 1, 2001, and July 30, 2001. Patients were randomly assigned to either the drain group or the no-drain group. One hundred seventy patients completed the study by undergoing either subtotal or total gastrectomy with D2 lymph node dissection. Surgical outcome between the two groups was compared within the subtotal and total gastrectomy subgroups. Postoperative complication within 30 days was the primary end point of the study. No significant difference was noted in the incidence of postoperative complication between the drain group and the no-drain group. The results of this study suggest that prophylactic drain placement does not offer additional benefit for patients undergoing gastric cancer surgery with extended lymph node dissection.
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