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June 1982

Complications of Drainage System for Modified Radical Mastectomy

Author Affiliations

Evanston, Ill

Arch Surg. 1982;117(6):859. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1982.01380300095020

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To the Editor.—Flat drains attached to a closed vacuum drainage system are commonly used after modified radical mastectomy to keep the skin flaps adherent to the chest wall and prevent the accumulation of blood, serum, and lymph fluid. Prior to 1980, we would place two 12-French red rubber catheter drains in the mastectomy field prior to closure, one in the medial and the other in the lateral portion of the wound. These drains were removed on the fifth postoperative day and the wound was managed by periodic aspiration with a 19-gauge needle and 50-cc syringe. Aspiration would be performed on every third day for several weeks until the wound was dry. Since 1980, we have been using the Heyer-Schulte 10-mm, Jackson-Pratt, flat, soft, plastic suction drains. We place two drains prior to skin closure, one in the medial portion and the other in the lateral portion of the wound.

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