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lumpectomy and drainage tubes

Posts: 23
Joined: Jun 2009

Does everyone who has a lumpectomy also get drainage tubes? I am tentatively scheduled for july 10 Fri and wanted to know if I will be well enough to go to a house settlement on Mon 2 1/2 hours away. I have been reading where people have and have not had them. What is the decision that makes having them or not? I have been diagnosed with stage 0 DCIS thanks.

jk1952's picture
Posts: 613
Joined: May 2009

I had a lumpectomy for DCIS in January, the doctor said that she took quite a large section, and I did not have any drains. I had the surgery on Tuesday and went back to work on Thursday and out to dinner with friends on Thursday evening.

But, everyone reacts differently. I used only Advil after I went home, since I don't get along with the pain meds, and I have a high pain tolerance. I think that being able to stay off the pain medications helps in resuming normal activities.

I have had the drainage tubes, and although they are a pain, you can wear a loose shirt and pin them underneath, so no one needs to know that you have them. You would likely have one max, and that's fairly easy to manage.


teresa41's picture
Posts: 466
Joined: Jun 2009

i just had a lumpectomy may 14,2009 i had a drain in for a month i had 36 lynph nodes removed.but i had no problem with drain it was a pain but i went to work and did most things ok.hope this helps you.teresa

Akiss4me's picture
Posts: 2192
Joined: May 2009

I had a lumpectomy just recently and had no drainage tubes. I did, however, have a compression dressing for 5 days. The way my surgeon explained it to me was that when you cut out tissue from your breast (size does not matter) that your body will automatically want to "fill" the area, usually with fluid. The area can not heal and adhere together properly if fluid is filling the gap. It is a personal decision among surgeons I believe. With compression dressings, patients have the ability to "remove" them causing complications. Not so with a drainage tube unless you are brave enough to snip your stitch holding it in and "pull". Compression dressings are just as sore to wear and more tempting to take off. I also have been through 7 other surgeries with no complications in healing and never had a drain. Ask him if it is an option for you to wear a compression bandage if he is considering a drain. However his preference, you should go by what he recommends since this is successful with his patients (it may be his technique). :) Pammy

tasha_111's picture
Posts: 2081
Joined: Oct 2008

I had a large lumpectomy dec 07. Drainage tube stayed in for a week. A bit of a pain in the arse but it was soon gone.


Christmas Girl's picture
Christmas Girl
Posts: 3691
Joined: Apr 2009

As evidenced by the many posts already here.

Prior to my lumpectomy surgery - it was explained that if lymph nodes from the breast tested positive for cancer (preliminarily, during surgery) that I'd also have another incision under the armpit in order to also remove and test lymph nodes there. The second incision under the armpit included the need for a drain. Which is what happened.

The drain itself didn't cause any pain - was just a very temporary nuisance. I found that loose fitting blouses that buttoned up the front (versus pulling over the head) were the most comfortable to wear, and the least awkward. Didn't stop me from shopping (Retail Therapy!), going out for lunch, whatever... Drain was removed about 10 days after surgery, determined by a certain amount of daily fluid collected.

Again, a lot depends on the specifics of the surgery itself - and probably the surgeon's individual techniques.

cats_toy's picture
Posts: 1462
Joined: Feb 2009

I had a lumpectomy, and the doc too more skin and tissue than expected, so he had a drain in, I had to stay overnight, which was not the original plan, and he took the drain out the next day and I went home.


taleena's picture
Posts: 1612
Joined: May 2009

I had a drain tube. When I had to leave the house I pinned it under my blouse that way it wasn't so obvious. The surgeon will decide based on how much fluid he feels there will be.. Personaly by the amount I drained the first 4 or 5 days I was glad I had it in, even if it was a pain, because otherwise I would have blown up like a balloon... My lumpectomy was on June 9th .. I survived it! Hang in there and know I will be thinking about you on the 10th, and sending speedy recovery thoughts your way!!!


Noel's picture
Posts: 3100
Joined: Apr 2009

I just want to welcome you and wish you a speedy recovery!

Kat11's picture
Posts: 1931
Joined: May 2009

I had the drain. It's a pain, but you can go out with it. I pinned it to the bottom of my surgery bra that I had when I left the Hospital. It's pretty small, it won't show.
Good Luck

GreeneyedGirl's picture
Posts: 1076
Joined: Sep 2008

I had about 1/4 of my breast removed in a lumpectomy. I had dcis stage 0 also. I did not have a drainage tube, and was able to move around easily after a couple days. I did have stitches and some steri~strips holding the incision closed, so wore a light dressing of bandages. I did not stray too far from home because I was concerned about things like bumping into people, infection and just wanting to rest. You know your body and what you will feel comfortable with, so go with the flow and take your doctors advice.

joannem65's picture
Posts: 17
Joined: Aug 2008

I had more than my share of drains... they're tollerable. Most of mine were in for extended period of time, but I had mastectomy. I worked in a hospital while I had them, went to dinner and traveled with them. I became the Master of Consealing them....tucked in my shirt, pinned to bra, panties, stuck in pockets... you never knew where I had it hidden. It just depended on what the cut of clothes, as to where I could hide it best.

I hope for your sake you don't even need it, but if you get one - it's only temporary.

Good Luck & Good Healing

Ms_Nellie's picture
Posts: 40
Joined: Jun 2009

I recently had a lumpectomy (6/17/09) an had drainage tubes. My drainage tubes were not an issue for me. The exit site for the tube was a bit more tender than the incision for the lumpectomy.

Other than not lifting I performed as many normal activities as possible. As far as taking the trip it may be OK if you feel physically up to taking the trip. I have been driving to different appoints and shopping and did not have any problems. I drive a manual transmission vehicle and had to the use my right hand (the lumpectomy was for the right breast).

I personally did not experience a lot of pain, but I was tired at the end of the day.

This has been my experience. I got the drainage tubes removed today and there does not seem to be much difference yet.

It may work for you. Take a pillow with you for some form of cushion.


Alexis F's picture
Alexis F
Posts: 3602
Joined: May 2009

I had a lumpectomy, but, no drain tube! Hope you are doing well! Good luck!

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