Following Shouldice repair of a primary inguinal hernia 50 patients were given subcutaneous Redon drains, while another 50 patients underwent operations without drains in a prospective randomized trial. The amount of postoperative wound secretion in the drainage bottle was added to fluid retention established by sonographic volumetric analysis. The degree of personal impairment was estimated by a visual analogue score. Inflammation parameters were recorded as well as the rate of complications. The drain group showed significantly increased fluid production in comparison to the group without drains on the 1st postoperative day (36.0 vs. 2.5 ml). Wound sepsis was found in two patients in the drain group. Seven patients with drains and eight patients without underwent percutaneous seroma puncture. The drain only slightly affected personal impairment (25.6% vs 21.4%, visual analogue score). Body temperature was elevated in the drain group on the 3rd day after operation (37.2 vs. 36.7 degrees C). We believe there is no indication for the routine use of a Redon drain in the repair of a primary inguinal hernia. Instead, percutaneous puncture of subcutaneous fluid retentions should be performed.