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drainage of post Breast Cancer Surgery

selitter
Posts: 1
Joined: May 2010

I had right Breast cancer surgery last March 31, 2010. Twice the doctor removed the drainer of my breast but the drainer had to be put back due to excess of fluid. Last week my drain fell out of place and the doctor decided to keep off to see if it was dry. Next day I experienced swelling under my armd showing signs of fluid. It is been over a month
and still have fluid. The doctor told me to take it easy with right arm but he said I should not mobilize it. He says some people take longer than other but every one I talk to removed the drainer problem within 2 to 3 weeks. What happens if the fluid is there without a drain?? Does any one had similar experience??

missrenee's picture
missrenee
Posts: 2137
Joined: Apr 2010

Hi there--I had a very similar experience. Had 2 surgeries in December with a drain being placed at the side of my left breast about four inches from the armpit. Since I had 23 lymph nodes removed, there was a lot of drainage and the drain had to be left in for 5 weeks (until the fluid was less than 30 ml./day). This was annoying, but probably not as much as if they took it out too early and fluid continued to build. Anyway, it was finally removed before my chemo. I still have some breast swelling and a little on the rib cage adjacent to the breast, some days more than others, but I was told by my surgeon as well as my oncologist that this can be normal--especially with as many nodes as were removed. Give this some time, I know it's frustrating, but sometimes is part of the process. Good luck and good thoughts.

DebbyM's picture
DebbyM
Posts: 3294
Joined: Oct 2009

I agree with missrenee, just give it some time. Be sure and call your oncologist if your swelling continues.

Hugs, Debby

seof
Posts: 826
Joined: Jun 2007

I had 4 drains in for the orginal mastectomy. I think the last one came out after 6 weeks. I had 6 drains after my DIEP reconstruction procedure. The last 2 were in for about 10 weeks. Then I had some other unusual complications that slowed the healing, but that's another story. I just wanted to ease your mind about how long it is taking. Everyone's body heals in its own way and time. Be patient and keep doing what the Dr. tells you. I WILL get better.

seof

Balentine's picture
Balentine
Posts: 393
Joined: Feb 2010

I had just one drain when I had my right mastectomy and when they took it out the nurse just said 'take a deep breath' and then she proceeded to just rip it out...I felt like she ripped out part of my insides. that was on 1/19 and I still have pain on my right side in the entire area of the mastectomy and where the drain was. Is this normal? It has been almost 3 months. I wonder how long it takes for all of that to heal inside? So did they rip yours out like that and did it hurt as bad as mine? How did you deal with feeling that much pain 6 times? You are a saint!! I am anxious to know.
Lorrie Balentine

Third_Generation's picture
Third_Generation
Posts: 121
Joined: Apr 2010

I had bilaterals, no reconstruct, on jan 5 this year.. I had 4 drains for 2 weeks...had fluid aspirated 4 times then drains back in... I still have a bit of fluid on left side..only one node out... my dr. says everyone is different and just to give it time... my aunt also had her drains put in... but did not take as long to dry up as me! lol
I don't wear my prosethesis because I thought that would lead to even more fluid.. so go "commando" flat chested.
It did not hurt when my drains were taken out, just got a neckache trying to see what was going on LOL
Good luck, be patient, but check with doctor too.

SamuraiMom's picture
SamuraiMom
Posts: 296
Joined: Jul 2009

Hi Love,
I had a double mastectomy and the drains were in for six weeks. Expect the unexpected. I was told they'd come out after a week's time max. When they took the left side out there was still some fluid there but the doc was more worried about infection creeping in after that long period of time. He took the last one out and the fluid worked itself out.
Your doctor knows best. It'll be okay. But man I hated those drains! I feel ya sista!
xxoo

diamond2dance
Posts: 2
Joined: May 2010

Wow, I'm going through this exact thing right now. My bilateral mast was 4/16, so tomorrow it'll be 4 weeks since I've had my 2 drains in. I also have expanders in, if that makes any difference. I'm draining right around 30 cc's in each breast per day, maybe slightly over right now, but I want these drains out SOOO bad because they HURT!!! Right at the drain sites, 4 inches under my armpit, if I move just slightly the wrong way and it pulls or tugs, the pain is tremendous - sends me through the roof! I've tried antibiotic cream and lidocaine cream; helps a little but not much. The area around the drain site is red and irritated, but the doctor SAW this on Tuesday and said it's normal. He's adamant about not taking out my drains until I'm under 30cc's.... but he's not helping me with this pain. I agree I don't want them out before they should come out... but at least tell me what I can do for this horrible pain. Does anyone have any secrets? I'm taping the tubing to my skin a couple inches from the site with some slack, so the tubing doesn't hang, and the bulbs are pinned to my clothing (or sometimes I wear them on a shoelace around my neck). I need help! Can't stand this pain any longer!

Balentine's picture
Balentine
Posts: 393
Joined: Feb 2010

I really don't think you should be in that much pain from the drains. However, since you have expanders in, that really may be the culprit of the pain more so than the drains. I do not know but I would definitely talk to your doctor or nurse about it tomorrow.

Also, one post said it did not hurt when they took the drains out....are they supposed to just abruptly pull them out or are they supposed to pull the drain out slowly? Maybe why after having my mastectomy on 1/19 I am still sore is because the nurse just ripped the drain out and damaged tissue inside. It hurts from my side where they drain came out all the way to the middle of my chest...basically the entire right side where they surgery was done.

Lorrie Balentine

diamond2dance
Posts: 2
Joined: May 2010

I saw my doctor 2 days ago, and he said that was just the way it was. No solution. Normal. Grin and bear it. Sorry. Those were his words. It's hard to believe in this day and age there could be so much pain and no solution.

I have never heard of just pulling the drains out like that! It would seem to me that it should be done slowly and carefully. I very much HOPE to experience the slow careful removal of mine tomorrow! I will ask while I'm there, about your soreness possibly being from the drains being ripped out, and if I find anything out I'll let you know.

Sunrae's picture
Sunrae
Posts: 808
Joined: Oct 2009

I had a masectomy on April 15, 4 weeks ago. Came home with two drains, one came out in about a week, but the other one took another week or so. My surgeon said the main way they knew when the drains should come out was when the fluid volume slowed down to under 30 cms for about 3 days. It didn't hurt when the surgeon took out the first drain slowly nor when the nurse took out the second one, which she just said take a deep breath and she yanked it out. Didn't hurt, but sure felt weird. I was told I could drive then, get fitted for my bras and forms, start my exercises and now I've just had my second chemo treatment, all in 4 weeks. I do have a little swelling and soreness in that chest area but I'm wearing bras again and finally got a t-shirt over my head, so I'm doing ok. Hope you soon will be too.

Third_Generation's picture
Third_Generation
Posts: 121
Joined: Apr 2010

Ballentine,
The dr pulled my drains out slowly.. I was watching because I thought it was so interesting..my sister was with me that time and she was fascinated also....we spent a lot of time in our youth sneaking our gramma's old medical books out and looking at the pics- it may have permanently deranged both of us LOL
anyway, the tubes came out slowly and it did not hurt... I don't thinkI would have liked them jerked out!
I still have a bit of fluid on the left side and still have to massage my upper chest so I don't get that sensitive skin pain back. Have been back at work full time for months now (surgery jan 5) and can even do a FEW things when I get home before I collapse in a heap. well, maybe ONE thing lol like brush the dog.. now that I think about it, I may not have done much when I got home before the surgery either LOL
Hope everyone is healing well, taking care, and doing well,
Brenda

vanashell
Posts: 2
Joined: May 2010

I made a sling out of an old teeshirt and tied it around my neck and put the bulbs in the sling. It helped some. Once they are out, the pain is a lot less. Hang in there.

Vanashell

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