Taking Care of Surgical Drains After Breast Surgery

Many breast cancer patients are concerned about the use of surgical drains after breast surgery. These are drains that need proper care after surgery to help you recover faster. Taking care of the surgical drains is quite easy.

What is the purpose of surgical drains after breast surgery?

After breast surgery, one side effect is the discharge of blood and fluid underneath the skin. It happens due to the body’s natural response to the skin being cut. It’s essential to drain such fluid pools (seromas) and blood to ensure proper wound healing. One does not want to experience a wound, as it can take much longer to heal and lead to scarring.

For breast surgery, the drains help in removing pooled blood and fluid from the body. It is crucial for the first 4-7 days after the surgery, especially in the areas with swelling and bruising.

Working: Post-Surgical Drains After Breast Surgery

The surgical drains often consist of a short-duration of plastic, flexible surgical tubing. It is often placed under the surface of the skin at different points beside the incision areas. One end of this tubing goes away from the body and comes with a removable tiny bulb on the external end for fluid and blood collection.

There is also a small plug on the vacuum blub for enabling convenient emptying of gathered blood and fluid. According to doctors, the patients need to keep a check on the amount of collected blood and fluid within the bulb and also keep recording its color and amount.

How to Maintain Surgical Drains After Breast Surgery?

The vital post-surgical need of patients using drains is to remove the collected fluid and blood out of the vacuum bulb. Before emptying this bulb, they have to milk/strip the tubing to prevent clogging due to small blood clots.

Patients need to secure the tubing near the incision site with one hand. Now, use the forefinger and thumb to squeeze the tubing lengthwise from its body into the bulb. After that, open the plug for removing the collected fluid and blood for proper measurement. Repeat it several times a day. Don’t rinse out the tubing or bulb with water, as it can increase the chances of infection.

It is best if doctors work closely with their patients to help them with their post-surgical needs. Hence, they can better manage proper care and maintenance of surgical drains.

How To Take Care of Surgical Drains?

Before discharge from the hospital, the nurse will demonstrate to you how to log the fluid from each tube and drain the reservoir. The nurses also demonstrate the correct technique to milk or strip the tubing for preventing any clogging You have to do it yourself at home. The drain reservoir needs emptying from time to time, usually a minimum of twice a day.

Lifestyle Changes With Surgical Drains After Breast Surgery

One major lifestyle adjustment to follow with drains after breast surgery is to stay away from intense activity. The intense activities may lead to the pulling of drain tubes and it can further lead to trauma in the surgery area.  Excessive physical activity even increases the release of fluid, causing you to wear the drains longer.

Also read: Breast Prosthesis – The Best Alternative to Breast Reconstruction

If a patient is in the habit of turning and tossing while sleeping, they need to sleep on their back in a recliner or with the help of pillows on either side. Never sleep at the site of surgery. You also need to avoid cleaning the drains with water, as it could lead to infections.

You also need to make some wardrobe adjustments, like wearing oversized or loose clothing. Keep in mind that it’s hard to lift the arms for pulling clothing over the head. You need to look for things with loose straps.

You will need to purchase a special post-surgical garments, like drain belts, or post surgical camisoles for convenient use of surgical drains. It makes life so much easier. Some special camisoles even come with specially-designed insert breast forms for convenient use. Just check out such post-surgical undergarments to help you with post-surgical recovery.

You can also read: Breast Cancer – Symptoms & Causes