Breast augmentation is one of the most commonly requested and performed plastic surgery procedures. In order to prevent early postoperative complications such as seroma or hematoma, surgical drains could be useful. The aim is to perform a systematic review of the literature on the use of surgical drains in primary breast augmentation.
This review was performed following the PRISMA guidelines. PubMed, SCOPUS, Web of Science and Cochrane Library databases were queried in search of clinical studies describing the use of surgical drains in women undergoing primary breast augmentation with implants and documenting seroma and/or hematoma formation rate and/or infection rate.
Initial search identified 2596 studies, and 162 were found relevant. Full-text review and application of our inclusion criteria to all retrieved papers produced 38 articles that met inclusion criteria. Among the included studies, 16 papers reported the use of surgical drains in breast augmentation, while in the remaining 22 articles drains were not used. Only 5 studies specifically investigated the role and effectiveness of surgical drains in augmentation mammaplasty and its possible relationship with complication rate such as seroma, hematoma or infection.
Despite similar complication rates emerged from the analyzed articles, because of the heterogeneity of the studies, we were not able to demonstrate specifically whether drain use affects the rate of early postoperative complications such as seroma, hematoma and infection. Additional randomized controlled trials are strongly advocated in order to provide the necessary scientific evidence.
This journal requires that authors assign a level of evidence to each article. For a full description of these Evidence-Based Medicine ratings, please refer to the Table of Contents or the online Instructions to Authors .

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