Routine drain placement after partial nephrectomy is not always necessary

J Urol. 2011 Aug;186(2):411-5. doi: 10.1016/j.juro.2011.03.151. Epub 2011 Jun 17.


Purpose: To our knowledge the benefit of routine drainage after partial nephrectomy has never been investigated, although a drain after partial nephrectomy can be associated with morbidity. We report our initial experience with omitting the drain in select cases of superficial renal cortical tumors.

Materials and methods: From a surgery database we identified 512 consecutive open partial nephrectomies performed by a single surgeon between January 2005 and May 2009 using standardized technique. The study group included 75 evaluable patients (14.6%) who did not have a drain placed. Clinical data, surgical information, histological type and postoperative complications within 90 days of the procedure using the modified Clavien system were included in analysis.

Results: Median patient age was 64 years (IQR 49, 70) and 56.8% of the patients were male. Median tumor size was 2.0 cm (IQR 1.5, 3.0) and more than 70% were malignant. A total of 38 patients (50.7%) underwent renal artery clamping and cold ischemia with a median clamp time of 30 minutes. The overall complication rate was 13.3% (10 patients). In 4 patients (5.3%) complications were related to an absent drain, including grade I urinary leak, grade II perirenal collection, grade III urinoma requiring percutaneous drainage and grade III urinary leak with urosepsis, respectively. No deaths occurred in this cohort.

Conclusions: Omitting drainage after partial nephrectomy in a select group of patients without collecting system entry is feasible and safe. The decision to place a drain after partial nephrectomy for small renal cortical tumors must be made intraoperatively and should be tailored to each case.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Drainage*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Kidney Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nephrectomy / methods*
  • Postoperative Care*
  • Postoperative Complications / epidemiology
  • Postoperative Complications / prevention & control
  • Prospective Studies