Drains after surgery dread

Im having a mastectomy on july 22nd and lymph nodes out then chemo. Im very positive but dreading the 2 drains i will be going home with. I know it sounds stupid but im dreading it any tips please x


I’ve just had two ops in pretty close succession and I too was not looking forward to the drains just like you. But I have to say it was not as bad as I expected, pain in the arse and got in the way yes but not bad in respect to pain. The most difficult thing is only sleeping on your back and it lying beside you.

I did not have to change the drain after my first op but did on the second and between my husband and I we did a pretty good job doing the change over. The swelling on the side is painful and I’m still swollen 3 weeks post second op and because I had two ops I had to have two drain entry points so that’s not great.

Best of luck. X


Thank you for your reply wishing you the best of luck healing. I think its the unknown for me as i like to be in control of whats going on so i think its the fear of the unknown x


I too had a mastectomy and then chemo. My op was just after lunch so had an overnight stay. Only had 1 drain fitted and this was removed next day as contents of the drain bottle were low. It wasnt really an issue to be fair. Drain was a bit inconvenient as it got in way a bit when i went to the bathroom but overall nothing to stress about. Honest xx


Thank you, im really positive the drains just scare me lol x


I had a mastectomy and full node clearance and didn’t have any drains. Not all surgeons use them as they said to me the evidence based is weak they help with seromas. I did have a small seroma drained once. How about talking to your surgeon about your concerns and whether it’s really necessary for you to have a drain in…


Thank you , i will have that chat on wednesday as they said i would have 2 x

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Just to say I’m looking at mastectomy on a similar date and also dreading the drains so I know it doesn’t help but you’re not alone with this fear and it’s not at all stupid. Xx


Thank you, im fine with everything else i dont know what it is just terrifies me x


They gave me a choice of lumpectomy or mastectomy i know from the start it was a mastectomy for me personally and staying flat. Im 58 had my children , so i was like just take it off i didnt want to take the chance of more surgery. X



I’ve just realised I’ve replied to you on another post do not sure if you will see it

It’s on the referral letter post

Good luck


Hi julesjp

Try not to worry. I had a double mastectomy (stayed flat) with a drain either side; one was removed a week later, and the other a few days after that. You get used to them.

My BCN gave me a couple of pretty handmade cloth bags (made by volunteers, bless them) in which to support each bottle. They had over the shoulder straps that I crossed from one shoulder across my chest to the opposite drain, and the second one in reverse (obviously). The drain piping is well secured into your skin and the bags take the weight of the filling bottles so that the piping doesn’t get tugged out of either your skin or the top of the bottle. Yes, it’s a bit awkward getting your loose fitting front-opening (much easier) tops on and off. My op was on the hottest day on record in the UK (19th July 2022), so I was glad to wear just knickers (and the bags) once I got home !

I could still manage to wash my ‘bits and pieces’ with a bit of careful manoeuvering.

I slept with a pillow along each side of my body which supported my arms and also helped prop up the bottles.

It’s only a week or two of inconvenience (worth it, I’d say, to reduce the chance of seranomas building up), and nothing compared to the various other aspects of cancer we have to endure and get through. It’s not awful. Please don’t worry. You’ll be fine, especially if you have one side of your body unencumbered.


Thank you so much thst eases the tension for me x

Yes i just saw thank you , i did reply :joy:

Drains are not always used. My surgeon said he may or may not put one in. In the end he did and it turned out to be unnecessary, I had very little fluid. There was a mix up with the district nurses so it wasn’t removed for days. I would ask if you can do without if you are worried about it xx

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Hi Julesjp

Please try not to worry. In the grand scheme of things, drains are simple. @MistyK is spot on with her advice.

I bought a V pillow to help me sleep on my back purely for the op itself but it proved useful for making sure I wasn’t led on the drain - popping it on its little bag (as described) over the pillow onto the mattress.

I used the little bag as to carry the drain around in. I went out 3 days after my op and used a thin tracksuit top with a deep internal pocket (how it was made to reinforce the proper pockets) to slip the drain in. No one knew - we bumped into some pals whom didn’t know my situation. They didn’t blink an eyelid - I looked no different to them.

I made a shower cape out of a massive Iceland (the frozen food shop) carrier bag so I could shower and even hairwash - a strip wash is not enough for me. I just made sure the shower head was quite low so water wasn’t on the bag’s opening over my shoulders too much.

My drain did play up - it didn’t drain at first. A quick call to my BCN and it was sorted with a few words of advice.

Make sure that post op, the nurses show you how to drain it and let you practice in front of them a few times. If you can, get them to video you doing. I struggled the 1st time at home, just from post op brain, so it’d be nice to have something to refer back to.

It only smarted when I had it taken out on day 7 post-op.

Good luck. I am sure everything will be as good as these things can be.

AnGELa x

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Thank you so much such good advice c

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I’m 6 weeks post mastectomy and went home with two drains in. The hospital gave me a little tote bag to carry them in if I was out and about. Had to empty them every morning and note down the amounts, but they were vacuum bags so way to do. One drain came out after a week and a half and the second drain 4 days later. The tubes were long enough to allow me to sleep on my good side with the bags next to me in bed.

The only downside for me was the second drain got a little sore where it entered, but I think that’s because it was in the bend of my body so when I bent over it got squeezed.

I was nervous about goi g home with them, but honestly they weren’t really any bother.


Thank you thats really reassuring x

I was really not looking forward to drains and was slightly scared by the whole idea. I’m now 13 weeks post mastectomy and can honestly say the drain was nowhere near as bad as I’d imagined! I had a drain and a Pico (think that’s the name!) suction dressing. I thought it was the drain which annoyed me but it was in fact the dressing which was removed after a week and the drain a week later. The drain is definitely manageable and emptying it was far less daunting than I’d imagined it to be! I think when the surgeon showed me how to do it, I was so out of it post-surgery that when I came to empty it the next day, it was just something that had to be done! Wishing you lots of positivity in the next steps x