Effect of quilting on seroma formation in mastectomies: A meta-analysis

Tal Eliav, Victor Novack, Yuval Krieger

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


    Background: Seroma is the most common complication following mastectomy and can require several days of drainage and lead to delayed wound healing, longer hospital stays, and an increased financial and emotional burden. Seroma formation is not well understood and but there is good evidence that closing the dead space via quilting can help reduce seroma formation. This study assessed randomized controlled trials and reviewed current literature to elucidate if there is a strong association between quilting sutures and seroma formation. Methods: A systematic search of 5 databases using search terms similar to “seroma”, “quilting”, “flap fixation”, “random”, and “mastectomy”. Data was extracted and Medcalc software used to perform a meta-analysis of the primary outcome: incidence of seroma formation, as well as secondary outcomes: volume and duration of drainage. Results: Eleven randomized controlled trials with 2009 patients were included. Quilting with sutures greatly reduced the incidence of seroma formation compared with conventional closure (p < 0.001, RR 0.367 [95% CI 0.25, 0.539]; I2 = 63.56%) as well as duration of drainage (p = 0.015, SMD -1.657, SE 0.680 [95% CI -2.991, −0.324]; 8 studies, n = 1578; I2 = 98.98%). Quilting did not significantly affect volume of drainage. Conclusions: Quilting was found to be associated with lower seroma rates. Future studies should investigate the use of quilting in combination with other preventative techniques to search for a synergistic method that will further improve patient care.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number101665
    JournalSurgical Oncology
    StatePublished - 1 Dec 2021


    • Mastectomy
    • Quilting suture
    • Seroma

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Surgery
    • Oncology


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