Wound bleeding after head and neck surgery

J Surg Oncol. 1993 May;53(1):17-9. doi: 10.1002/jso.2930530107.


Using our head and neck service database, we reviewed 3,200 surgical procedures performed at our institution over a 7-year period. We identified 54 patients whose surgery was complicated postoperatively by wound bleeding. The procedure most often complicated by wound bleeding was parotidectomy, 1.7% (14 of 510 patients), followed by thyroidectomy, 1.6% (8 of 504 patients), neck dissection combined with other procedures, 1.3% (12 of 885 patients), and neck dissection alone, 1.1% (6 of 534 patients). Bleeding developed in flap donor sites in 2 of 227 patients and followed miscellaneous procedures in 12 others. Thirty-one patients were treated by reexploration in the operating room, 13 had limited exploration on the ward and 10 were observed with no intervention. There was no difference in wound healing between the three treatment groups. However, mean hospital stay was shortest for patients who had wound exploration in the operating room, 6.2 days, for exploration on the ward, 10.8 days, and 18.9 for those that were observed. Drains had no effect on wound healing or mean hospital stay.

MeSH terms

  • Hematoma / epidemiology*
  • Hematoma / etiology
  • Hemorrhage / epidemiology*
  • Hemorrhage / etiology
  • Humans
  • Length of Stay
  • Neck Dissection / adverse effects*
  • Parotid Gland / surgery*
  • Postoperative Complications / epidemiology
  • Reoperation
  • Thyroidectomy / adverse effects*