Background/aims: The use of drainage after liver resection remains controversial. Data of the usefulness of drains in cirrhotic patients undergoing surgical resection are scarce. The objective of our study is to assess the usefulness of intra-abdominal drainage after liver resection for hepatocellular carcinoma in cirrhotic patients.
Methodology: We performed a randomized controlled trial to assess the benefits of abdominal drainage after resection of hepatocellular carcinoma in cirrhotic patients. The main end point was to compare postoperative complications and hospital stay in both groups.
Results: Abdominal drainage decreased ascites leakage and significantly reduced hospital stay in comparison to the non-drainage group. In addition, local complications were less frequent in the drainage group. Postoperative ascites leakage significantly complicated patients with clinically relevant portal hypertension.
Conclusions: Intra-abdominal closed drainage is advisable in cirrhotic patients undergoing liver resection for hepatocellular carcinoma, mainly if presenting preoperative portal hypertension.