The role of wound drainage in total knee arthroplasty (TKA) is controversial. The use of drainage was believed to be effective in decreasing hematoma formation, but it inevitably increases bleeding because the tamponade effect of a closed and undrained wound is eliminated. Clamping the drain tube in the first 4 hours after TKA can temporarily recreate a tamponade effect for bleeding control. Previous studies compared the clamping drainage with the conventional drainage method but not with non-drainage. Some current studies have shown that drainage in TKA is not necessary. Thus, we conducted a study to compare the outcomes between the patients with temporarily clamping drainage and without drainage. One hundred consecutive patients undergoing primary TKA were included. Change of hemoglobin, blood transfusion, use of narcotics, postoperative wound dressing, length of hospital stay, and range of motion were recorded. The drain-clamping group demonstrated more postoperative hemoglobin loss and a longer hospital stay, and gained no benefit compared with the non-drain group. Therefore, we concluded that despite clamping for 4 hours after TKA, the drain was still of no use. We would not recommend using a draining system routinely after TKA.
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