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Why are drainage tubes placed during breast cancer surgery?

If underarm lymph nodes were removed as part of your surgery, or if you had breast reconstruction, a drainage tube may have been placed under your arm. Their purpose is to assist in the healing process by draining away fluid that collects in the area of surgery. If you have had breast reconstruction using tissue from your stomach area (called a TRAM flap) you will also have drains placed in the stomach area.
Drainage tube are essential for removal of fluid under the reconstructed breast for up to one week. Jackson-Pratt drainage tubes of 7mm or 10mm diameter are used in my practice for reconstruction of the breast and abdominoplasty to remove serous fluid and blood from the implant pocket. They may help to prevent seroma formation which may increase the incidence of capsular contracture and scar tissue formation. When the axillary lymph nodes are removed, lymphatic fluid may form a fluild collection referred to as a lympocoele that is amenable to drainage.

Continue Learning about Breast Cancer

Breast Cancer

Breast Cancer

Several types of cancer can form in the breast, making it the second most common cancer that affects American women. Breast cancer affects over 200,000 women each year. The cancer develops when abnormal cells crowd out healthy one...

s, potentially causing a lump in the breast or a bloody discharge from the nipples.
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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.