Outpatient parotidectomy with or without the use of a post-operative drain: a retrospective bi-institutional study

Sam T. H. Reerds (Lead / Corresponding author), Shi Ying Hey, Frank J. A. Van Den Hoogen, Robert P. Takes, Vaishnevy Ganesh, Henri A. M. Marres, Jaiganesh Manickavasagam, Jimmie Honings

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
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Objective: Parotid surgery is historically performed as an inpatient procedure and suctions drains are predominantly used during surgery. Recent literature provides evidence that outpatient parotid surgery is safe and effective. Our study aims to describe the results of drainless outpatient parotidectomy and outpatient parotidectomy with drain placement and compare their outcomes.

Design: Retrospective cohort study.

Setting: Bi-institutional retrospective cohort study.

Participants: Patients that underwent outpatient drain-less parotidectomy and patients that underwent outpatient parotidectomy with post-operative drain placement.

Main Outcome Measures: Complication rates, unplanned post-operative visits, unplanned prolonged stay.

Results: Three hundred eighty patients underwent outpatient parotidectomy with drain placement and 31 patients underwent outpatient drainless parotidectomy in two different hospitals. The incidence of haematoma (drain: 3.1% vs. drainless: 0%, p = 1), infection (drain: 14.3% vs. drainless: 13.8%, p = 1) and salivary fistula (drain: 5.6% vs. drainless: 3.4, p = 1) were comparable between both groups. Seroma or sialocele was more frequently seen in the drain-less group (27.6% vs. 6.2%, p <.001), but were all managed conservatively. Within 10 days after surgery, unplanned visits seemed more frequent in the drain group, although the difference was not statistically significant (14.9% vs. 3.4%, p =.16).

Conclusions: Outpatient parotid surgery with or without the use of a post-operative drain is safe, practical and feasible. Same-day discharge with and without drain placement yield comparable outcomes. However, the results need to be interpreted cautiously as this study was limited by a small cohort of parotidectomies without drain placement. Future studies should further compare both approaches.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)430-435
Number of pages6
JournalClinical Otolaryngology
Issue number3
Early online date30 Dec 2022
Publication statusPublished - May 2023


  • drain placement
  • outpatient
  • outpatient surgery
  • parotid
  • parotid gland
  • parotid surgery
  • retrospective study
  • salivary gland surgery
  • salivary gland tumour
  • same-day surgery


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