Intra-articular drain after arthroscopic anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction (ACLR) is used by many surgeons. However, the benefit of the drain in the aspect of pain is still unknown.
This study aims to validate the benefit of the intra-articular drain on pain after ACLR with hamstrings graft (HS) and other effects of the intra-articular drain regarding postoperative conditions.
Forty ACLR with HS patients were randomized to intra-articular drain and no drain groups. All participants have undergone spinal anesthesia and the same perioperative pain control protocols. The primary outcome was post-operative pain at 48 hours using a visual analog scale (VAS).
The secondary outcomes were VAS and morphine consumption at 6-, 12-, 24-, 36-, and 48(morphine) hours post-operation, swelling grades of the knee, range of motion (ROM), ability to perform straight leg raising, and incidence of knee joint aspiration before discharge.
The demographic data, preoperative pain, ROM, and knee effusion grade in both groups were comparable. At 48 hours post-operation, there was no significant difference in the VAS between groups: VAS at rest (No drain, median 20.00; 10.00-30.00, drain 10.00; 4.00-20.00, P= 0.16) and VAS with knee motion (No drain, mean 35.42 ± 19.45, drain 27.58 ± 16.28, P =0.19). The secondary outcomes; VAS and morphine consumption at 6-, 12-, 24-, 36-, and 48(morphine) hours post-operation were determined by linear mixed models. Both VAS and morphine consumption were not significantly different. Patients who received knee joint aspiration within two weeks and other outcomes were not significantly different between the groups.
Intra-articular drain after ACLR did not significantly reduce post-operative pain and morphine consumption compared to the no drain group.