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Drains are flexible and hollow plastic tubes that the surgeon leaves in the patient’s neck to allow drainage of blood, lymph, and other body fluids after thyroid surgery. Drains are not necessary for most thyroid operations. Thyroid surgeons place drains when there is a high likelihood of body fluid accumulation after an operation, for example if an extensive neck dissection (lymph node removal) was performed, or if the patient is on an anticoagulant (blood thinner) for some other medical condition. Ask your surgeon if a drain is likely to be placed at the end of your thyroid operation.
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