How can I reduce the daily fluid output after reconstruction?

I had a bilateral mastectomy with immediate reconstruction in the first week of June this year. Since then, I have experienced complications of fluid building up twice in one breast and now it seems to be happening with the other. As a result...we are now at the end of August and I have drains again. I've actually had them much longer than I've been without them since this journey began and I'm wondering what can I do to get my fluid count down to 10-15 cc's daily?

Doctor Answers 2

Persistent drainage after breast reconstruction

It is not uncommon to have persistent drainage after mastectomy and reconstruction. Some reasons for this include: removal axillary lymph nodes, large volume mastectomy, and/or use of dermal matrix during reconstruction. I routinely remove drains when output is around 30 ml/day. If the daily output does not subside then I have the drains placed on passive drainage to facilitate more fluid absorption by the body. Check with your plastic surgeon if this may be an option for you. Best, Dr. Yegiyants


Santa Barbara Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

Drain output

I'm sorry to hear you are experiencing this very common problem. I'd say fluid output and accumulation (seroma) is the number one complication after mastectomy and breast reconstruction. Reasons for this are somewhat unclear, and a recent review of the problem in the literature suggests that we still don't completely understand why this happens. There are plenty of theories, but it turns out that there really isn't much you can do as a patient beyond following your surgeon's advice to minimize the output. I encourage my patients to stay as active as possible. Best wishes.

Paul J. Leahy, MD
Leawood Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

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