The purpose of introducing drains into wounds is to establish an exit for existing unwanted fluid or for that which is expected to form. The problem is not one of simple hydrostatics, however. Contrary to the usual idea, almost any drainage material creates a reaction in the surrounding tissue which influences both the efficacy of the drain and the ultimate healing of the wound. This varies greatly with the character of the material used. Certain features of these reactions offer a means of dealing with the complex problems of drainage belonging to the individual case.
It is my purpose in this article to demonstrate the effect on tissue of various materials used for drains. I shall then point out how an understanding of these effects gives a rational basis for selecting the material best suited for the conditions in a given case.
Obviously not all the many and varied materials