Efficiency of using a vaginal drain after hysterectomy: A systematic review

Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol. 2019 Jun;237:175-180. doi: 10.1016/j.ejogrb.2019.04.020. Epub 2019 Apr 18.


Objective Hysterectomy is the second most frequently performed surgical procedure for women of reproductive age topped only by caesarean section. Hysterectomies may be associated with a significant risk of ultrasonographically detected vault haematomas in up to 59% with consequent postoperative morbidity. The aim of this systematic review was to compare women who had a vaginal drain placed intraoperatively after a hysterectomy and the impact on peri and postoperative outcomes related to vault haematomas. Study Design Electronic searches of AMED, BNI, CINAHL, EMBASE, HBE, HMIC, Medline, PsycINFO and PubMed, Cochrane register of controlled trials (CCTR), Cochrane database of systematic reviews (CDSR) CINAHL and Google scholar were performed. A systematic review and meta-analysis of studies comparing women with and without a vaginal drain after a hysterectomy and the impact on different outcomes was carried out. Results Ten studies involving 1778 women, 811 with a vaginal drain and 967 without a drain, were included in the meta-analysis. This suggests that the use of a vaginal drain after hysterectomy may significantly reduce the incidence of vault haematoma (OR 0.22, 95% CI 0.08 - 0.57) and febrile morbidity (OR 0.54, 95% CI 0.40 to 0.73), non- significantly reduce the rate of usage of antibiotics (OR 0.80, 95% CI 0.46-1.42) and makes no difference to the length of hospital stay (MD 0.12, 95% CI -0.14 to 0.38). Conclusion The use of a vaginal drain after hysterectomy could reduce the incidence of vault haematoma and febrile morbidity.

Keywords: Antibiotic usage; Drain; Hysterectomy; Length of stay; Vault haematoma; febrile morbidity.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Drainage*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hysterectomy / methods*
  • Length of Stay
  • Postoperative Complications*
  • Postoperative Period
  • Treatment Outcome