How to Empty Your Drains After Breast Cancer Surgery

Breast cancer is scary. Chemotherapy and radiation and surgery… oh my! And now drains too? You may have heard drains referenced when talking about surgery, but it’s hard to picture how they work unless you’ve seen them.

Once you’ve been through a lumpectomy or mastectomy, drains should be the comparatively easy part. But you will likely still have questions: Where am I going to put them? How much fluid will there be? And, am I going to be totally grossed out? Don’t worry, you’ve got this!

Photo: YouTube/Beauty Through The Beast
Photo: YouTube/Beauty Through The Beast

After being diagnosed with breast cancer, Chiara had a double mastectomy and then reconstructive surgery (see her prepped for reconstruction here and her breast reveal here), so she knows a thing or two about wearing drains!

She doesn’t love wearing them, but she’s got it down and wants to demystify the process for us.

“I wanted to show you what to do when you have surgery and you have fabulous drains. They’re not very sexy.”

Photo: YouTube/Beauty Through The Beast
Photo: YouTube/Beauty Through The Beast

There are multiple ways to secure drains. You can pin them to your shirt like Chiara does or create an inexpensive drain holder (instructions here). You can do most things like wearing your drains, including shower, and there are just a few steps to emptying them properly.

You should keep track of how much fluid is draining each day on a chart or piece of paper so you doctor has a daily report.

Photo: YouTube/Beauty Through The Beast
Photo: YouTube/Beauty Through The Beast

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Is it gross? Well, Chiara certainly doesn’t seem fazed. She says that the fluid looks kind of like punch! You may or may not agree, but her casual attitude is refreshing. If you want to refer to your drain fluid as punch, then we say go for it!

“This is the third time I’m having drains, so I’m used to them now. In the beginning I was really freaked out by this tube coming out of the side of my body… but I’m a pro now.”

Photo: YouTube/Beauty Through The Beast
Photo: YouTube/Beauty Through The Beast

So rest assured, you can definitely handle drains. But it’s no good telling you when Chiara can show you, so take a look at the video below. We appreciate her open and humorous approach to an unpleasant but necessary part of breast cancer surgery. Thanks Chiara!

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