If a mastectomy is performed without reconstruction, your breast surgeon will be monitoring the drain output and if reconstruction is performed, your plastic surgeon will be monitoring the drain. Generally we wait for drain output to be less than 30cc in a 24 hour period for two consecutive days in a row before we have it removed and this varies from patient to patient and from surgery to surgery. Best of luck.
Hi and thank you for your question. The management of the drains is done by general surgery if it was just a mastectomy and by the Plastic Surgery team if a reconstruction was performed. We tend to be conservative with keeping the drains in until the drainage has decreased to less than 30ml/day for 2-3 days. The timing varies from patient to patient for how long the drains will be in place. Your board certified Plastic Surgeon will be following you post-operatively to manage your reconstruction and drains. Good luck with everything!
If an immediate breast reconstruction is not being performed, drain management is at the discretion of the general surgeon. Most surgeons will want to see less than 25 to 30 ml for 24 hours for a couple of days in a row. As a plastic surgeon, I like the general surgeons to be conservative with their drains because fluid build up afterwards from early removal or too much activity (including range of motion exercises) can negatively impact my reconstruction efforts.
The drains will stay in for as long as they need to. Usually this is for about a week maybe sooner or maybe longer it depends upon how much fluid drains on a daily basis.
This is a question you need to ask your physician who is doing your mastectomy as everybody's drain protocol is different. Usually if it is less than 25cc/24 hr period the surgeon will remove the drains and can be anywhere from 5 days to 2 weeks.