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Drain removal after Lymphadenectomy – painful or not?

Forums General Melanoma Community Drain removal after Lymphadenectomy – painful or not?

  • Post
    Rendergirl
    Participant

    I think I might be getting mine removed tomorrow or the next day, under arm. Question…. did it hurt anyone? Looks like I have a stitch or two in the skin around it. I'm a little scared, I know it's silly, after surgery to be scared of getting the little drain removed, but I am.

    Any experiences?

    I think I might be getting mine removed tomorrow or the next day, under arm. Question…. did it hurt anyone? Looks like I have a stitch or two in the skin around it. I'm a little scared, I know it's silly, after surgery to be scared of getting the little drain removed, but I am.

    Any experiences?

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  • Replies
      DebbieH
      Participant

      I had mine in for about 4 weeks and I was terrified of having it out, TERRIFIED!!

      It turned out to be no big deal at all – a little tug and it was out – no pain.  I hope it's the same for you. 

      DebbieH, stage IIIC, NED 9 1/2 + years after interferon

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      DebbieH
      Participant

      I had mine in for about 4 weeks and I was terrified of having it out, TERRIFIED!!

      It turned out to be no big deal at all – a little tug and it was out – no pain.  I hope it's the same for you. 

      DebbieH, stage IIIC, NED 9 1/2 + years after interferon

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      CarolA
      Participant

      Had two occasions, both drainage tubes were under my left arm.    The first one, I didn't know what to expect and it was an experience I wanted to forget.   So, when the second one came, I took some pain meds prior to the visit in preparation.    Don't know if that helped, or if the second removal simply  was not as bad as the first, but it was not as bad as I had anticipated.    My suggestion would be to not look, and let them engage you in the chatter that they usually do to distract you of the event.    If you don't have a problem by taking something to take the edge off prior to the appt, do that.    For sure:  once it's done, it's done and over and I know I came home and napped peacefully.

      CarolA  –   Stage III

      Amherst, NY

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      CarolA
      Participant

      Had two occasions, both drainage tubes were under my left arm.    The first one, I didn't know what to expect and it was an experience I wanted to forget.   So, when the second one came, I took some pain meds prior to the visit in preparation.    Don't know if that helped, or if the second removal simply  was not as bad as the first, but it was not as bad as I had anticipated.    My suggestion would be to not look, and let them engage you in the chatter that they usually do to distract you of the event.    If you don't have a problem by taking something to take the edge off prior to the appt, do that.    For sure:  once it's done, it's done and over and I know I came home and napped peacefully.

      CarolA  –   Stage III

      Amherst, NY

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      boot2aboot
      Participant

      i get mine out on Tuesday…will let you know how it went

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      boot2aboot
      Participant

      i get mine out on Tuesday…will let you know how it went

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      Carol Taylor
      Participant

      Hi Render,

      I had mine in for two months, it was the second of two and larger than the first and stapled in, I forget how many staples but more than 10.

      How can getting staples out and a long tube pulled out from under the arm not hurt??!! This was something this camper was most unhappy over just thinking about and I was busy telling the doctor just that as his resident was standing off to my left side. The next thing I know, he's handing me staples.  I didn't even know he was removing them and I wasn't feeling a thing!

      OK, staples, apparently, were one thing. Surely pulling that long tube out was going to need numbing.  And that's just what I was in the process of telling him when he shows me this long piece of tubing that he's just pulled out while I was talking.  I never felt even a tug. 

      Since one other has reported feeling it, one felt a tug, and I felt nothing, we're all different when it comes to this too. You'll get through it! Whether you feel a tug or nothing at all, it will be over quickly and within a few hours you'll be back on here telling us it wasn't as bad as you thought.

      You've gotten this far!  You can do this too!

      All the best!

      Grace and peace,

      Carol

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      Carol Taylor
      Participant

      Hi Render,

      I had mine in for two months, it was the second of two and larger than the first and stapled in, I forget how many staples but more than 10.

      How can getting staples out and a long tube pulled out from under the arm not hurt??!! This was something this camper was most unhappy over just thinking about and I was busy telling the doctor just that as his resident was standing off to my left side. The next thing I know, he's handing me staples.  I didn't even know he was removing them and I wasn't feeling a thing!

      OK, staples, apparently, were one thing. Surely pulling that long tube out was going to need numbing.  And that's just what I was in the process of telling him when he shows me this long piece of tubing that he's just pulled out while I was talking.  I never felt even a tug. 

      Since one other has reported feeling it, one felt a tug, and I felt nothing, we're all different when it comes to this too. You'll get through it! Whether you feel a tug or nothing at all, it will be over quickly and within a few hours you'll be back on here telling us it wasn't as bad as you thought.

      You've gotten this far!  You can do this too!

      All the best!

      Grace and peace,

      Carol

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      Lauri England
      Participant

      I was very worried about my drain tube removal as well.  I didn't really feel it at all.  No pain.  I did feel a lot better right after it was removed.  Best wishes

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      Lauri England
      Participant

      I was very worried about my drain tube removal as well.  I didn't really feel it at all.  No pain.  I did feel a lot better right after it was removed.  Best wishes

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      ChrisTheWilsonZoo
      Participant

      I had a completely different experience with my drain.

      My "breast specialist" surgeon left my drain in for ONE week.  It was placed in the side of my right breast, and I'm sorry to say it hurt like h*ll when she removed it.  I was left me breathless for several minutes, and I thought for certain she had pulled a hunk of skin away with the drain and that I was bleeding.  (It turned out what I thought was blood was drainage fluid.)   

      Personally, I think she pulled the drain too early, and it should have remained in place another week to 10 days.  It was at least 10 days before the site quit leaking fluid.  I was using thick, heavy bandaging at the site that I had to change every 3-4 hours for the first week before it finally slowed down.  It was at least 10 days before the "drain hole" finally scabbed over.  If you thought having to deal with the drain was ugly, not having it when you still need one is worse.

      ANYWAY, after reading others' experiences, I'm left wondering if the level of "discomfort" (as surgeons like to call it) one feels on removal is directly related to the the amount of time the drain remains in place.  Only one week after surgery, I'd say the entire surgical area probably was still very tender and easily irritated.  On reflection, I would fully expect disturbing the area by pulling the drain that soon after surgery to be painful.  The inflammation hadn't really had sufficient time to subside.  I wasn't on any anti-inflammatories – just pain meds.

      On a side note – after my hysterectomy last July, my OB/GYN put me on 800mg ibuprofen twice a day for a month to help with post-surgical inflammation. She said studies had shown reducing inflammation at the surgical site helped lower overall pain levels and improved healing times.  Made sense to me!  And I had an unbelievably easy recovery from this major surgery that occurred right in the middle of my interferon treatments.

      If I had been advised to take anti-inflammatories when I had my lymphadanectomy, I would have been popping motrin with my pain meds to help!  In hindsight, it really seems like common sense, and usually I can apply it on my own.  However, at the time, I had just been diagnosed, and common sense had flown right out the window!  Additionally, at my cancer center, Tylenol is the NSAID of choice.  Indeed, I had been advised to switch from ibuprofen (which I actually preferred up to that point) to Tylenol.  And since starting interferon was next on the agenda, and I took exactly what I was told to take, when and how I was told to take it.  (Now, I know to take the NSAID that works best for me, based on the situation – Tylenol for fever; ibuprofen for inflammation.)

      And I have to say – while my surgeon did a beautiful job surgically, her after care left a LOT to be desired.  (I won't even discuss what happened with my port.)  For that reason, I don't think I'd either use her again or recommend her to friends. (I hope to never need to!)

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      ChrisTheWilsonZoo
      Participant

      I had a completely different experience with my drain.

      My "breast specialist" surgeon left my drain in for ONE week.  It was placed in the side of my right breast, and I'm sorry to say it hurt like h*ll when she removed it.  I was left me breathless for several minutes, and I thought for certain she had pulled a hunk of skin away with the drain and that I was bleeding.  (It turned out what I thought was blood was drainage fluid.)   

      Personally, I think she pulled the drain too early, and it should have remained in place another week to 10 days.  It was at least 10 days before the site quit leaking fluid.  I was using thick, heavy bandaging at the site that I had to change every 3-4 hours for the first week before it finally slowed down.  It was at least 10 days before the "drain hole" finally scabbed over.  If you thought having to deal with the drain was ugly, not having it when you still need one is worse.

      ANYWAY, after reading others' experiences, I'm left wondering if the level of "discomfort" (as surgeons like to call it) one feels on removal is directly related to the the amount of time the drain remains in place.  Only one week after surgery, I'd say the entire surgical area probably was still very tender and easily irritated.  On reflection, I would fully expect disturbing the area by pulling the drain that soon after surgery to be painful.  The inflammation hadn't really had sufficient time to subside.  I wasn't on any anti-inflammatories – just pain meds.

      On a side note – after my hysterectomy last July, my OB/GYN put me on 800mg ibuprofen twice a day for a month to help with post-surgical inflammation. She said studies had shown reducing inflammation at the surgical site helped lower overall pain levels and improved healing times.  Made sense to me!  And I had an unbelievably easy recovery from this major surgery that occurred right in the middle of my interferon treatments.

      If I had been advised to take anti-inflammatories when I had my lymphadanectomy, I would have been popping motrin with my pain meds to help!  In hindsight, it really seems like common sense, and usually I can apply it on my own.  However, at the time, I had just been diagnosed, and common sense had flown right out the window!  Additionally, at my cancer center, Tylenol is the NSAID of choice.  Indeed, I had been advised to switch from ibuprofen (which I actually preferred up to that point) to Tylenol.  And since starting interferon was next on the agenda, and I took exactly what I was told to take, when and how I was told to take it.  (Now, I know to take the NSAID that works best for me, based on the situation – Tylenol for fever; ibuprofen for inflammation.)

      And I have to say – while my surgeon did a beautiful job surgically, her after care left a LOT to be desired.  (I won't even discuss what happened with my port.)  For that reason, I don't think I'd either use her again or recommend her to friends. (I hope to never need to!)

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      jonellecm
      Participant

      Hi, I had my drain in for about 3 weeks. I was also terrified about what to expect and the pain. I researched drain removal online and a lot of people said it was quick, uncomfortable, but painless. My personal experience was not that. It was very painful for me and did not seem quick at all. I had an extremely long tube that reached from under my arm all the way up to my neck. however my pain tolerance is not high and  I believe it depends on the person. I was in a lot of pain after it was removed, which I expected to have relief. I would advise you take pain killers before going in and have someone go with you to comfort your nerves. I don't mean to scare you, I just want you to know my experience which may be different from others.

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      jonellecm
      Participant

      Hi, I had my drain in for about 3 weeks. I was also terrified about what to expect and the pain. I researched drain removal online and a lot of people said it was quick, uncomfortable, but painless. My personal experience was not that. It was very painful for me and did not seem quick at all. I had an extremely long tube that reached from under my arm all the way up to my neck. however my pain tolerance is not high and  I believe it depends on the person. I was in a lot of pain after it was removed, which I expected to have relief. I would advise you take pain killers before going in and have someone go with you to comfort your nerves. I don't mean to scare you, I just want you to know my experience which may be different from others.

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      nicoli
      Participant

      Get yours taken out and THEN  I will tell you of my experience with a neck drain tube. 

      Nicki, Stage3b. scalp

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      nicoli
      Participant

      Get yours taken out and THEN  I will tell you of my experience with a neck drain tube. 

      Nicki, Stage3b. scalp

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      akls
      Participant

      I had mine in under my arm for 3 weeks.  Didn't even feel it when they took it out.  Hope yours goes as well.

       

      Amy S. in Michigan

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      akls
      Participant

      I had mine in under my arm for 3 weeks.  Didn't even feel it when they took it out.  Hope yours goes as well.

       

      Amy S. in Michigan

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      Rendergirl
      Participant

      Just to update everyone, I had mine out today. There were 1-2 stitches holding it in place under my arm, and once she snipped those, the tube practically jumped out of my body on it's own. I didn't even feel it, and was so suprised it was already gone. I guess I was one of the lucky ones. My conolences to those of you with painful tube removals, and again, thanks to everyone at this site for being there when I need info or someone to say "You can do this!".

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      Rendergirl
      Participant

      Just to update everyone, I had mine out today. There were 1-2 stitches holding it in place under my arm, and once she snipped those, the tube practically jumped out of my body on it's own. I didn't even feel it, and was so suprised it was already gone. I guess I was one of the lucky ones. My conolences to those of you with painful tube removals, and again, thanks to everyone at this site for being there when I need info or someone to say "You can do this!".

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        Carol Taylor
        Participant

        Yea Rendergirl!  Glad it went well!

        Carol

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        Carol Taylor
        Participant

        Yea Rendergirl!  Glad it went well!

        Carol

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        CarolA
        Participant

        And there you go!    I hope you are resting well, healing, getting enough sleep.    Now you can be the voice of advice for newbies with drainage tubes.   Quite the graduation ceremony!

        CarolA ~ Stage III

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        CarolA
        Participant

        And there you go!    I hope you are resting well, healing, getting enough sleep.    Now you can be the voice of advice for newbies with drainage tubes.   Quite the graduation ceremony!

        CarolA ~ Stage III

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