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Prospective Study to Evaluate Efficacy of Single Versus Double Drains in Breast Cancer Patients Undergoing Surgery

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Seroma formation is a common sequel following modified radical mastectomy (MRM), which hinders healing, may prolong hospital stay, and cause a delay in adjuvant treatment. Closed suction drains have been used to prevent formation of seroma; however, the use of a single drain in the axilla along with draining the mastectomy flaps and axilla separately remains a topic of debate. This prospective randomized dual-arm study was conducted in the Department of Endocrine Surgery. All female patients with carcinoma breast diagnosed on core tissue biopsy, undergoing modified radical mastectomy, upfront or post neoadjuvant systemic therapy were included. Patients were randomized into two groups. In the first group, a single drain was placed in the axilla whereas in the second group, a drain each was placed below the mastectomy flaps and the axilla. Patients’ particulars and the weight of the mass excised along with the operative details were documented. The volume of the drain was recorded daily. The flap drain was removed on postoperative day 5 and the axillary drain was removed when the drain volume was less than 30 mL/24 h for 2 consecutive days. The period of drain placement, volume of drainage, volume of seroma (if formed), and other complications (if any) were recorded. Patients in the single drain group had a significantly earlier drain removal time as compared to those with double drains (p = 0.01). The number of patients in whom seroma formation had occurred was more in the double drain group, but the difference was not significant. The average volume of aspirated seroma fluid was insignificantly more in the single drain group. The only other complication noticed was flap necrosis—in 5% patients of the double drain group. Total volume of drainage (p < 0.0001) and type of drain (p = 0.0208) were associated with higher rates of seroma formation, whereas BMI (p = 0.0516), weight of excised breast mass (p = 0.407), and age (p = 0.6379) were not associated with the rate of seroma formation. Outcomes in terms of drain volume or seroma formation were statistically indifferent between the two groups. Still, use of only a single axillary drain should be promoted, keeping in mind the earlier drain removal period, better patient compliance, and reduced hospital stay.

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Authors and Affiliations



Conception: SR, PR; patient treatment: SR, GB, RS, MR, RA, PR, KRS, AKM; data collection: SR, SSG, RA, US, GB, RS, MR, RA; analysis: SR; interpretation: SR, SSG, GB, PR; literature review: SR, SSG, GB, PR; critical review: GB, RS, MR, RA, PR, KRS, AKM; first draft: SR, SSG, RA, US. All authors have read and approved the Final draft.

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Correspondence to Pooja Ramakant.

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Ethics Approval

Institutional Ethics Committee of King George’s Medical University, Lucknow (Reg No: ECR/262/Inst/UP/2013/RR-19) had approved the study: Ref Code: 117th ECM IIA/P11.

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Written informed consent in English or Hindi had been taken from all patients.

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The authors declare no competing interests.

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Roy, S., Gupta, S.S., Singh, U. et al. Prospective Study to Evaluate Efficacy of Single Versus Double Drains in Breast Cancer Patients Undergoing Surgery. Indian J Surg Oncol 15, 437–445 (2024).

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