Drains question - help please

Hello , I’m new here and wanted a little advice on drains. I had a right side mascetomy and sent home with two drains.

  1. Must I wear gloves when emptying my own drains
  2. How soon can they be removed

I pray I have posted in the right forum. This is my first post. Thanks so much in advance for any tips.

Hello Humblepeace


I was ‘new’ here once too!  Not a club any of us really wanted to join but you will find lots of friendly folk and some great tips.


I only had one drain and I personally didn’t wear gloves to empty it.  I did adopt thorough hand washing hygiene techniques whilst reciting Hey diddle diddle, the cat and the fiddle etc. (or whatever!) - both before and afterwards.  I emptied mine into little measuring cups that the ward gave me on discharge in order to monitor output.  Mine could be removed once it had produced less than 30mls in a 24 hour period (about 6 days post-op for me). Check your paperwork for when you left hospital as it might say what is applicable for you.  Not all hospitals are the same.  Your BC nurse may be able to tell you if you can’t find the details.


I had a cloth bag with a long shoulder strap which I could wear satchel fashion and I put my drain in there.  It was more comfortable and reduced the risk of pulling it out.  When showering, it went in a carrier bag which I then hung up in the shower.


Here’s hoping you have a problem free recovery. Ezzie. X

Thanks so much for your response. I wish I were more tuned in before leaving the outpatient center (the meds from the surgery). I would have asked more questions.
I suppose I’m being a bit over precaution. I want to be safe. I wasn’t using gloves to start with, but then I thought maybe the hospital gave me that instruction but I missed it. How soon were your bandages removed? I had surgery Friday, Sept. 15.
Thanks again and God bless you.



I didn’t have any dressings!  I’ve often read here about people and their dressings but I missed out.  I had a piece of tape securing my drain and that was removed with my drain after six days.  My mastectomy scars were just glued and left open to fresh air.  They healed very quickly.


Hope this helps. Ezzie. X

Hi ladies - I am from the May 2017 chemo group - I’m having my right hand mx and complete node removal tomorrow afternoon.  Right now I’m feeling nervous and excited - can’t wait for this bit to be behind me.  I’m staying in overnight tomorrow, returning home on Wednesday fingers crossed!!  I’m fortunate to be having a nurse visit me every afternoon to empty the drains and change dressings.  


How quick were you up and about feeling OK’ish?  


J x

Hi Jay68,
I pray all goes well with you. It is a process and the sooner one step is complete it makes moving on easier. I just had a right side mascetomy on this past Friday, just three days have past. I was a bit sleepy and definitely not too alert on Friday once I was back at home. No overnight stay in the hospital. I did not have any pain to speak of, a twinge here or there. I believe the surgeon put strong numbing medicine in that area as I didn’t feel too much of anything. However, it has began to wear off. I have had good energy and able to do most things for myself. Thank God
I pray all goes well with you. God bless you.??

Hi Jay68,
I have prayed for you and I believe that all went well with you. May your recovery time be peaceful. Hope to hear from you soon. God bless you?

Humblepeace, how are you doing with your drains etc and how are you feeling? Hugs to you too.
Evie x

Hi Evie-S,
I’m handling the drains much better. Though I will appreciate when they are out altogether lol ?
I have very little pain and I’m sleeping well at night. I thank God for each improvement. How are you doing?
May has been a bit of time since your surgery. How is your treatment progressing?

Hello ladies - operation was successful on Tuesday!  I stayed in overnight and I arrived safely home yesterday morning.  So nice to be back in the luxury of my own bed in my own home  I thank the Lord everyday now for the small things in life that everyone still takes for granted!


i’m fortunate in that I have very little pain - the only discomfort is due to the two drains I have.  I have a nurse visiting me for next 4 days who’s generally keeping an eye on me and emptying my drains - although I have also been doing it myself!  Not that I like doing it…ergh!


Generally I feel well, feeling stronger everyday.  But today is only 2 days on so not rushing things too much!


Hope you are well.  Much love x



Hello ,

Jay68 I’m so happy to hear that you are back at home and recovering well. How nice to have a nurse helping you. I was my own nurse and butler lol ?. I believe the nurse will take good care of you. Do you have children to care for. I have one daughter, she’s 23 yrs and very sufficient at taking care of herself. However, she still has one hundred and two questions to ask me daily lol I love it ?
Be blessed and rest often.

Thank you for sharing your treatment plan with me. It seems like you are moving forward. You have shared so good info with me and I’m very thankful. I go in to the surgeon on Monday to get the pathology report as well as the recheck since the surgery…and I pray I will get the drains or at least one drain removed. I’m at approximately 60ml - 90ml in 24 hours. Do you know why it varies so much? Some days I have 20ml in one drain for the entire day and 100ml in the other???

Well Ladies, may we continue to receive God’s blessings and peace throughout this journey.

Hi Evie-S,
I’m praying for you and I believe you are covered with peace. This can be a very anxious time, it’s good to spend time with friends. Please write as often as you would like.

Thanks for the info on drains. I’m hopeful that on Monday I will get rid of both or at least one. Your family support is so beautiful. My daughter is still at home with me, she is currently enrolled in a graduate ??‍? program. She is very positive and helps me all the time.

Prays and hugs ?

Hi Jay68,
Thank you for more info. I’m am believing for the removal of both on Monday. In a 12 hour period one drain had 2ml and the other had 55ml.
I happy for you getting the compression bandage off, mine were removed completely by day 4.
Do you know if you received any nerve blocking meds in that area. I was very numb feeling in the area up until about day 5. I was not told about any such meds beforehand, but read a lot about them on the internet. I will definitely ask on Monday.

I pray for your continued healing process.

Hi Evie-S, and Jay68,

I pray the start of the week has been good for the both of you. Jay68 I trust that you’re probably doing a bit more moving about, but take it easy. How are you feeling?
Also, you were both right on with the “right number” associated with drain removal and according to my surgeon that number number is 30ml or less in a 24hr period. Only one of my drains are at that number. I will wait to see the numbers in a few days. I’m in faith ?

The surgeon gave a good report on the area healing well and the pathology report was good as well. I thank God!!

Hi Evie-S,
I had written a response to your very good news, but when checking back in I could find my response…so I don’t know where it posted…or perhaps…user error?? Lol
I was so happy to read the good news.
Also, I actually sleep very well and usually I’m in bed before 11pm or midnight, but I live in California. We have a big time difference lol.

Hey Jay68
I pray all is well with you and you’re healing well.

Delighted to say been to see the surgeon today and have been given the all clear!  I no longer have cancer!  I’m just so relieved and excited x

That is good news. You must be floating on a cloud with that great news. I celebrate with you!!

The drains are still in as one of them still is producing more than 30ml in a 24hr period, but it’s less than a week ago.
I laugh because tonight I’m up a bit later than usual lol
Have a blessed day.

Hey Jay68,

I have a question about how the site is healing. Do you feel any lumps in the area? I was showering today and felt what seemed like a lump in the area. Things actually still sore and even numb in some areas. Thanks

It’s been two weeks today since the surgery. I don’t think the surgeon would have missed anything with a full mascetomy. The surgeon stated all margins were clear and all lump nodes negative. Appointment on Monday. Thanks again.

Hi Evie-S,
How are you?

Thanks Jay68. I will restart the next 4 sessions of chemotherapy starting on Thursday. I initially had a lumpectomy of the right breast, and a month and a half later I felt another lump near the scar. Went to the surgeon and was told it was possibly a cyst, but we would continue to monitor. Therefore, I began chemo and the chemo had no visible effect on the lump. Chemotherapy was 4 session at that point. I continued to check back with the surgeon until she removed the lump and sent it to pathology and it was a tumor. The oncologist stated that perhaps due to it not being in the deep tissue of my breast may be why it was not changed by chemo. That is what led to the mascetomy. After this two weeks of healing the chemo with a different set of meds will start. So, to answer your question about rads, I will be meeting with the oncologist on Tuesday and then later the radiologist to review the new plan since the mascetomy.
Thanks so much for sharing information. God bless you.