• How long is normal for the tubes to stay in after mascetomy and lymph node removal?

    Asked by Steph921 on Monday, January 7, 2013

    How long is normal for the tubes to stay in after mascetomy and lymph node removal?

    I had surgery on Dec. 17 and left with 3 tubes. The ones for the breasts themselves came out last week but the one for the lymph nodes are still draining 18-20 cc's a day. I go back to the doctor on Wednesday and it will be 3 weeks and 2 days post surgery. I'm anxious to get the last one out and go back to work. Did anyone go back to work while the tubes were in? I guess I could just wear a long shirt like I do anytime I go anywhere and go from there. Just curoius to see what experiences everybody else had.

    11 Answers from the Community

    11 answers
    • nancyjac's Avatar

      Usually once the draining is 20 cc or less/day, the surgeon will take them out, so I would expect he will take them out on Wednesday. I had as many as 6 drains (multiple surgeries) and a couple that were in just short of 4 weeks.

      over 7 years ago
    • Nancebeth's Avatar

      I only had 2 drains after my bilat and recon. My left drain was removed about a week after surgery but the right one was tsubborn and it didn't come out until 12 days later.

      over 7 years ago
    • gwendolyn's Avatar

      I had one about a week and one almost three weeks. I was in no hurry to go back to work.

      over 7 years ago
    • karen1956's Avatar

      I only had my drains for one week...I only had 2 drains...PS took them out early as I was developing a seroma....

      over 7 years ago
    • Nomadicme's Avatar

      I had one drain on for 6 weeks, and begged to have it removed (got my back tapped for fluids twice after that). I went back to work with both drains, they were easy to conceal. My biggest issue when I first returned to work was getting chairs to sit that had enough back support.

      over 7 years ago
    • MsScribe's Avatar

      I had 4 drains after my bilat and the last one didn't come out for 5 weeks. Check what you are taking for pain meds does not involve anything that would thin your blood - I made the mistake of taking Advil and Aleve :-( Apparently nobody thought to counsel me on that. It prolonged my drainage by over 10 days

      over 7 years ago
    • speedy's Avatar

      My first 2 drains came out a week after surgery. The last 2 stayed in for 3 weeks because I was doing to much. My nurse told me to do as liitle as possible or they will have to stay in longer. As long as the amount was 10cc's or less is their policy. Best wishes to you.

      over 7 years ago
    • Clyde's Avatar

      I had one drain after the nodes came out that was in for nearly 2 weeks. Everyone is different so don't sweat that it might take longer. There will probably be some residual swelling right after it comes out--don't freak out about that unless it doesn't go down at night. I still have some swelling nearly 6 months after it was taken out, but it is less and less all the time. Working will help get your mind off things so I would encourage you to return. Just don't be too anxious to talk about the cancer. You don't want to become "Cancer girl" at the office. You want to be Steph92. Just another normal, good natured, non-victim member of the staff.

      over 7 years ago
    • Momofivedcisbc's Avatar

      Hi Steph, I researched on the internet about the drains right after my double mastectomy because they were the most uncomfortable part of my healing, believe it or not. I read that the purpose is to remove fluid from the surgical wound through mild suction. Two different sites said an average of 2-7 days and another 7-14 days but possibly longer. Mine came out quickly but I did not have any lymph node removal. I think the drains might prevent other complications like lymphedema. I just hope that your body absorbs the fluid naturally as soon as possible. My heart goes out to you. You are a trooper and I am glad you are feeling well enough to go back to work. Remember to take it easy and slow and steady. You just went through a big surgery and you deserve to heal and take care of yourself. I know how stir crazy though it can be at home. I started to feel better after the drains were out after physical therapy and with movement. I also really took the recuperation time to eat healthy, breathe and take care of myself. Good Luck

      over 7 years ago
    • Steph921's Avatar

      Thanks everyone for your answers and advice! The last tube came out on Wednesday, 3 weeks and 2 days after surgery and I'm feeling much better. I am doing physical therapy and have decided to go back to work on Monday, part time at first as I still tire easily. I really appreciate all the encouragement from everyone and good luck to you all!

      over 7 years ago
    • Nomadicme's Avatar

      I was told 4 weeks but I had one for 6 weeks ( and could have gone longer but I begged to have it removed, my back was tapped subsequently).

      over 7 years ago

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