A prospective, randomized study was performed to assess the effectiveness of postoperative closed suction drainage. One hundred and twelve consecutive procedures involving autologous iliac-crest bone graft were performed, from December 29, 1992, to July 1, 1993, following a traumatic injury of the spine in 108 patients. Sixty of the sites from which the bone graft had been obtained were drained with a single large Hemovac device. The drains were maintained for two to five days postoperatively. The remaining fifty-two incisions were closed without a drainage device. All patients were evaluated clinically for problems with wound-healing. The incisions were considered to be healed when they had been asymptomatic for one year. Of eleven patients who had problems with wound-healing, six had been managed with a drain and five had not. The findings of this study do not support the routine use of drainage at the donor sites of iliac-crest bone grafts.