Dr. Harness describes the complications associated with a mastectomy.
Dr. Harness, M.D.:
Major things, we have drains coming out from the mastectomy, so we worry if there’s blood coming out of there. Usually for the first 24, 48, 72 hours, there’s a little bit of blood mixed in with serous material, which is kind of yellowish in color. We are not alarmed about it being a little more bloody during the first 24 hours, and that it changes over the next 24, and the next 24 after that.
Next thing is just the management of the drains that are there. They should be educated in how to manage their drain. The amount of fluid coming out needs to be measured very carefully.
The final thing is infection where the area becomes really red, hot, and swollen. A lot of us, not all of us, use antibiotics after the patient’s discharged from the hospital while their drains are in. I am one of those people, and I have a virtual zero percent infection rate because I do use antibiotics with drains, and others may disagree with that.
About Dr. Harness, M.D.:
Dr. Jay Harness, M.D., is the Director at St. Joseph Hospital Comprehensive Breast Center. Practicing medicine for 35 years, Dr. Harness specializes in general surgery and medical oncology. Graduating medical school from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, he conducting his internship and residency at the University of Michigan Medical Center. Recognized nationally and internationally for his work in breast and endocrine surgery, Dr. Harness is the immediate past-President of The American Society of Breast Surgeons and is President-elect of Breast Surgery International. Dr. Harness can assist patients in English, Spanish, and Vietnamese.