A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Pelvic Drain Insertion After Robot-Assisted Radical Prostatectomy

J Endourol. 2020 Apr;34(4):401-408. doi: 10.1089/end.2019.0554. Epub 2020 Mar 23.


Purpose: To perform a systematic review and meta-analysis and to assess the clinical benefit of prophylactic pelvic drain (PD) placement after robot-assisted laparoscopic prostatectomy (RALP) with pelvic lymph node dissection (PLND) in patients with localized prostate cancer. Materials and Methods: An electronic search of databases, including Scopus, Medline, and EMbase, was conducted for articles that considered postoperative outcomes with PD placement and without PD (no drain) placement after RALP. The primary outcome was rate of symptomatic lymphocele (requiring intervention) and secondary outcomes were complications as described by the Clavien-Dindo classification system. Quality assessment was performed using the Modified Cochrane Risk of Bias Tool for Quality Assessment. Results: Six relevant articles comprising 1783 patients (PD = 1253; ND = 530) were included. Use of PD conferred no difference in symptomatic lymphocoele rate (risk difference 0.01; 95% confidence interval [CI] -0.007 to 0.027), with an overall incidence of 2.2% (95% CI 0.013-0.032). No difference in low-grade (I-II; risk difference 0.035, 95% CI -0.065 to 0.148) or high-grade (III-V; risk difference -0.003, 95% CI -0.05 to 0.044) complications was observed between PD and ND groups. Low-grade (I-II) complications were 11.8% (95% CI 0-0.42) and 7.3% (95% CI 0-0.26), with similar rates of high-grade (III-V) complications, being 4.1% (95% CI 0.008-0.084) and 4.3% (95% CI 0.007-0.067) for PD and ND groups, respectively. Conclusion: PD insertion after RALP with extended PLND did not confer significant benefits in prevention of symptomatic lymphocoele or postoperative complications. Based on these results, PD insertion may be safely omitted in uncomplicated cases after consideration of clinical factors.

Keywords: lymph node dissection; lymphocele; pelvic drain; prostate cancer; robot-assisted radical prostatectomy.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Lymph Node Excision
  • Male
  • Pelvis / surgery
  • Prostatectomy
  • Prostatic Neoplasms* / surgery
  • Robotic Surgical Procedures* / adverse effects
  • Robotics*