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Randomized clinical trial comparing axillary padding with closed suction drainage for the axillary wound after lymphadenectomy for breast cancer. BJS 2006; 93: 820-824.

Published: 14th June 2006

Authors: J.‐M. Classe, D. Berchery, L. Campion, R. Pioud, F. Dravet, S. Robard et al.


After axillary lymphadenectomy for breast cancer, a suction drain is routinely inserted into the axilla to prevent seroma formation. This drain is an obstacle to reducing hospital stay after breast‐conserving surgery. This was a prospective randomized clinical trial to assess the safety and results of axillary padding without the use of a drain.


Between May 2001 and August 2003, 100 women were randomly allocated axillary padding without a drain or with the use of an axillary suction drain. Prospective assessments were made of morbidity, pain, shoulder mobility, quality of life and medical costs including length of hospital stay.


Using axillary padding significantly reduced the mean (s.d.) length of hospital stay (1·8(1) versus 4·5(2) days, P < 0·001). Postoperative complications, pain, shoulder mobility and quality of life were similar in the two groups. There was no difference in the duration of the two procedures.


Axillary padding after axillary lymphadenectomy was feasible and safe, without a drain, and shortened hospital stay. Copyright © 2006 British Journal of Surgery Society Ltd. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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