Background: Axillary lymph node dissection (ALND) is an integral part of breast cancer treatment. It is required in about 40–50% of patients. The placement of a drain in the axilla after an operation is current surgical practice. Short surgical stay programmes increase operating efficiency and reduce medical care costs, without compromising quality of care. LigaSureTM is a new haemostatic device that uses bipolar energy to seal vessels. The aim of this study is to determine whether axillary dissection with LigaSureTM reduces the time of wound drainage, the duration of surgical intervention and the volume of drainage after treatment.
Patients and methods: This study is a prospective randomized controlled trial. A total of 100 women with breast cancer who needed axillary dissection were randomized into the LigaSureTM or conventional axillary dissection group. Levels I to III lymph node dissection was performed. A closed suction drain was always placed in the axilla and removed after 6–8 days or when fluid amount was <60 cc in the previous 24 hours.
Results: There were no significant differences between the two groups when considering the duration of surgical procedure: average duration was 70.7 ± 24.66 minutes for LigaSureTM patients, while in the conventional dissection group the mean was 70.6 ± 22.47 minutes (p=0.98). Total amount of drained fluid was 624.49 cc in the LigaSureTM axillary dissection group and 792.96 in the conventional ALND group; this difference did not achieve statistical significance (p=0.09); the duration of draining was also similar, with no statistical difference (p=0.15).
Conclusions: The present study did not show clear advantages in LigaSureTM use for ALND, although it represents a good haemostatic device, especially in abdominal surgery.