Home With Drain

Early discharge - when, how and why?

After breast surgery wound drains are placed in the wound to remove blood, secretions and other tissue fluids to promote healing. This drain remains until the volume drained is less than 50mls per day. This is usually 4-7 days after surgery, but may in some cases be longer.

Many patients feel well enough after the first day to continue their recovery at home with the axilla (armpit) drain still in place. They can be in contact with the Breast Care Team at the hospital.

Many patients feel well enough after the first day to continue their recovery at home with the axilla (armpit) drain still in place. They can be in contact with the Breast Care Team at the hospital.

Increased quality of life

Discharge home with the drain still in place is very widely used and many patients like being at home with their loved ones as soon as possible. Breast surgery can be physically and emotionally distressing and the support and comfort from the family and home environment are so important during this period. Even with the best nursing care, making the patient comfortable and at ease in hospital, there is simply no place like home! Early discharge is only proposed when the surgical wound is healing without complications and the patient's home circumstances are suitable.

What is a wound drain?

A wound drain is a thin, soft plastic tube, part of which is perforated with small holes. This tube is called a catheter and during surgery the part with the hole is placed in the surgical wound before it is closed. Any blood, secretions or tissue fluids then pass through these small holes into the catheter, flow along the tube and are collected in the lilac bulb.

Exudrain has a hanger to attach it to the patient's clothing so that it is easy to move around. It is possible to wash normally.

Daily measurement of the drained volume

On the last page of this brochure there is a Drainage Logbook where the volume drained each day should be noted. The Exudrain bag is graduated for this purpose. (It may help to mark the level with a felt pen on the bag each time the volume is read).

Removal of the drain

When the volume is less than 50ml per day the Exudrain can be removed. This is usually done in the hospital, and arrangements will be made before you leave.

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