Active versus passive drainage after modified radical mastectomy in breast cancer


  • Alex Oommen Department of Surgery, Government Medical College, Kozhikode, Kerala, India
  • Thara Augustine Department of Surgery, Government Medical College, Kozhikode, Kerala, India
  • E. V. Gopi Department of Surgery, Government Medical College, Kozhikode, Kerala, India



Drain output, Modified radical mastectomy, Passive drains, Suction drains


Background: Active drains are routinely used after Modified Radical Mastectomy (MRM) and is an important factor contributing to increased hospital stay as the patients are often discharged only after their removal. Amongst various factors that influence the amount of post operative drainage, the negative suction pressure applied to the drain has been reported to be of great significance. Against this background a study was conducted to compare the amount and duration of drainage between suction and dependent drainage in patients following Modified Radical Mastectomy.

Methods: Patients were randomised using randomly ordered sealed envelopes, which were opened immediately before the closure of the wound, to decide on whether suction or dependent drain was to be given. Drains were removed when output was less than 30 ml per day. Patients were followed up from the day of surgery till the day of drain removal. Statistical analysis was performed with SPSS.

Results: There is significant increase in the drain per day in post MRM patients with active suction drain. But, there is no relation between the type of drain and either total drain output or the total number of days of drain. The study also revealed that there is no significant difference in the number of days of hospital stay in both groups of patients.

Conclusions: Suction drains do not have any significant advantage over dependent drains after Modified Radical Mastectomy in breast cancer patients.


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