Why Do We Need Mastectomy Drains?

As we embark on the fast-paced track of treatment, there are subtle whispers from those that have already gone through this about THE DRAINS!

What are they? Why do we need them? How long do we need them for? I always wondered and yes- I HATED them too

So here is Dr. Barry Rosen-Breast Surgery Specialist-Advisor for Learn Look Locate to help shed some light on how important they actually are for our bodies to heal after a double mastectomy.⁠

Raw surfaces of the body tend to leak fluid until healed. Left untreated, this fluid can accumulate under the skin and impede healing-these are called seromas. ⁠

The purpose of a mastectomy drain is to draw the fluid out, thereby promoting healing. However drains are two way streets, fluid can egress but foreign bodies like drains can allow normal bacteria from our skin to travel to the drain site, therefore, we don’t want to keep these in too long. ⁠

Therefore drain management is more of an art than science-your surgeon will balance risks vs benefits to decide when it’s best to remove. ⁠

As a general rule, we want to see less than 30ml (2tbsp) of fluid a day per drain.⁠