When can my drain come out?

This has to be one of the most frequently asked questions from all post- surgery patients who inevitably have a drain in place.

The first time a drain is used in your treatment is following the sentinel lymph node biopsy. The general rule for a sentinel, is that the drain must be in for a minimum of four days and drain 25ml or less for two days in a row. However, the human body is a strong thing! You may drain very little, or have what seems like a never-ending supply of fluid!

The golden rule: “The stiller the wound, the better the healing”

A couple of tips: Go about your life as usual, but gently. The more you rush around, the more your wound shears and the more fluid is produced. Pain is also a good indication of how much you can and can’t do. If you are experiencing lots of pain slow down – you are over doing it! Most importantly, please do not drive, as driving requires arm movements that can upset the wound.

Another important point to remember is that each patient’s treatment is unique to him or her, so there are no hard and fast rules.

If you have any drain problems, please contact the doctor’s rooms or visit the ward and ask the sisters to check.

How often do I change the ‘micropore’ dressing?

“Micropore on a scar can be equated to a plaster cast on a broken arm.” The idea behind it is the same, if the edges are kept still they heal without friction, which leaves you with a nicer scar.

Wounds take two weeks to heal to the outside world. Although, at eight weeks they are at their reddest, hardest, and most horrible. After that they start to soften. Micropore dressing should then be placed on the scar. Leave it on as long as possible. Luckily it can get wet, so only change if it starts to look tatty. If you have a negative reaction to the dressing, throw it in the bin. Do not change every day, as this will aggravate the wound.

Written by Julie Belloni