Will I have any sort of drain?
You may most likely have a drain if you have a mastectomy or an axillary lymph node dissection.
How long does the drain stay in place?
The drain is removed whenever the drainage is below 30 cc’s a day. Usually, that takes about 7-10 days but can also take up to 3 weeks at times.
What is the drainage supposed to look like?
The first several days the drainage will be red and then turn more yellow. Sometimes, there will be clot-like material within the drain and that is the reason for “milking” the drain several times a day.
How often do I need to empty the drain?
Usually twice a day is fine and record the amount emptied. Empty more often, if needed.
What if I can’t get the drain to hold its suction?
If you can’t get the drain to hold its suction, please call our office for an immediate evaluation or if after hours, go to the Emergency Room.
How long will I stay in the hospital?
With a lumpectomy, you will be considered an outpatient and be able to return home the same day. With a mastectomy without reconstruction, you will be discharged the same day or spend a single night in the hospital. With a mastectomy with reconstruction, you will most probably have an extended time in the hospital depending on the type of reconstruction.
How soon can I drive?
Most people can drive and work soon after pain is well controlled. The criteria for driving is that the patient should not be taking any narcotic pain medication and the patient can move around comfortably enough to drive safely.
When can I exercise?
You can begin light exercise such as walking after you get home. Light arm exercises should start the day after the drain is removed or about 7 days after surgery if you did not get a drain.