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Policies concerning the management of operatively placed drains after pancreatic surgery are still under debate. Open passive drains and closed-suction drains are both used currently in clinical practice worldwide, but there are no reliable data regarding potential differences in the postoperative outcomes associated with each drain type. The aim of the present study was to compare open passive drains and closed-suction drains with regard to postoperative contamination of the drainage fluid and overall morbidity and mortality.This study was a prospective, observational analysis of 320 consecutive, standard, partial resections (pancreaticoduodenectomy and distal pancreatectomy at a single institution from April 2016 to April 2017. Either open passive drains (n = 189, 51%) or closed-suction drains (n = 131) were used according to the operating surgeon's choice. Postoperative outcomes, including samples of drainage fluid collected on postoperative day V and sent for microbiologic analysis, were registered.The open passive drain and closed-suction drain cohorts did not differ in terms of their clinical features, use of neoadjuvant chemotherapy or preoperative biliary drainage, fistula risk zone, and type of operative procedure. The overall rate of postoperative day V drainage fluid contamination (27.5% vs. 20.6%, P = .1) was similar between the groups. The same results were obtained for each specific procedure. The postoperative outcomes, namely, overall 30-day morbidity, postoperative pancreatic fistula, intra-abdominal fluid collections, percutaneous drainage, wound infections, reintervention, mean duration of hospital stay, and mortality did not differ between the 2 groups. Qualitative microbiologic analysis revealed that after pancreaticoduodenectomy, 61.5% of the bacteria contaminating the drainage fluid were attributable to human gut flora, while after distal pancreatectomy, 84.8% of the bacteria belonged to skin and mucous flora (P < .01), however, the spectrum of bacterial contamination did not significantly differ between the open passive drain and closed-suction drain cohorts.The use of open passive drains and closed-suction drains for major pancreatic resection does not significantly impact the postoperative outcome. The spectrum of drain contamination depends on the specific operative procedure rather than on the type of drain used.