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Which surgical drain holders are best?

If you are undergoing certain surgeries like a mastectomy or breast reconstruction, you will probably need surgical drains put in when you go home from the hospital. 

Your nurse or surgeon will provide you with instructions on how to manage these surgical drains, but knowing more about surgical drain holders and how to take care of surgical drains can make your life a little easier. The TRS Drain Bulb Carrier Pouch for Shower is a customer favorite with big pockets and an extra pouch to use when bathing.

What to know before you buy a surgical drain holder

Purpose of surgical drains

Surgical drains play a huge role in the healing process after breast surgery. Fluid tends to build up in the area where the breast is removed and can lead to discomfort and delayed healing if the area is not drained. 

Surgical drains also decrease the chance that a seroma develops. A seroma is a collection of fluid that can cause discomfort and scarring. Surgical drains also sometimes give bacteria an opportunity to enter your body, so keeping the area around the drains dry and clean is crucial.

Surgeries that require surgical drains

There are a few surgeries that require surgical drains, including those where fluid collects during the healing process. Surgical drains are typically needed after reconstructive breast surgery or mastectomy. You might only have one drain, or you might have five or more drains if you have a bilateral mastectomy with the reconstruction immediately following it.

A separate drain tube is usually placed if you have a lymph node dissection. You won’t typically need a drain tube if you’re going through a sentinel node biopsy, surgical biopsy or lumpectomy. The location of your surgical drains depends on the kind of surgery you have, but it usually includes a surgical drain at the mastectomy site, as well as one in your armpit when you have lymph nodes removed.

Common drain issues

Several issues can crop up with surgical drains, including infection, the loss of vacuum pressure, clots in the tubing and increased drainage.

  • Increased drainage. Some people notice increased drainage when they are too active, but other people don’t find this to be the case.
  • Clots in the tubing. Patients occasionally find clots in their tubing. If this happens, gently knead the area around the surgical drain.
  • Loss of vacuum pressure. Your surgical drain might fail to remove fluid if a proper vacuum is not created after emptying the bulb. If this happens, the fluid buildup can be very uncomfortable.
  • Infection. Surgical drain site infections are common and become more likely the longer the surgical drains are in place.

What to look for in a quality surgical drain holder

Extra pockets

It helps to have extra pockets in your surgical drain holder to hold drainage bulbs and additional items. This will help you to be prepared with extra supplies in case you need them on the go. It also helps you to reduce the number of items you need to carry around with you in a purse or other bag.


Adjustable belts are also useful on surgical drain holders. They are comfortable to wear and flexible for most people. The last thing you want is a holder that feels too tight or too loose. An adjustable belt will help you feel the most comfortable in your day-to-day activities while wearing the surgical drain holder.


Mesh material works well for surgical drain holders because it’s breathable and works well in the shower. Finding a holder that has comfortable fabric is paramount since you’ll be wearing it on your body all day. Mesh is a great option that is both comfortable and practical.

How much you can expect to spend on a surgical drain holder

Surgical drain holders range in price from about $15-$30, depending on the quantity, quality, features, construction and materials of the holder.

Surgical drain holder FAQ

How do you sleep with surgical drains?

A. It might be hard to pull clothing over your head for a while following surgery, so keep this in mind when you’re shopping. Pay attention to the location of your surgical drains when you go to bed at night. You might have to sleep in a recliner or on your back if you are an active sleeper to prevent dislodging the surgical drains.

Can you shower with breast drains?

A. For the first couple of days following surgery, take a bath with a small amount of water or wash with a sponge. Only take a bath if you keep your surgical dressing dry, so your incision can heal. After the first 48 hours, you can take off the dressing and take a shower.

How long do drain tubes stay in, following a mastectomy?

A. The surgeon will close up your skin with stitches and place one or two tubes or surgical drains, so fluid from the wound will drain out. The surgical drain will stay in for about seven to 10 days following surgery.

What’s the best surgical drain holder to buy?

Top surgical drain holder

TRS Drain Bulb Carrier Pouch for Shower

TRS Drain Bulb Carrier Pouch for Shower

What you need to know: This versatile surgical drain holder is a customer favorite with big pockets and an extra pouch to use when you’re showering and bathing.

What you’ll love: This holder includes a mesh pouch for showering, room for multiple drainage bulbs and a spacious pocket that can accommodate a few small items. The product also features an easy-access design.

What you should consider: The product comes with broken straps and loose stitching.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top surgical drain holder for the money

ELN Group Post-Surgical Drain Patient Care Kit

ELN Group Post-Surgical Drain Patient Care Kit

What you need to know: This three-piece set comes with a storage bag, plastic shower pouch and surgical drain holders and belt, which make it a wonderful deal.

What you’ll love: This product includes a bag for transport and storage, as well as a plastic shower pouch that is just as effective as pouches made of mesh. The drain holder also comes with dual drain holding pockets on an adjustable belt that is comfortable to wear.

What you should consider: There are some longevity issues, since the closures and seams are known to tear.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Yesito Mastectomy Drain and Shower Pouch

Yesito Mastectomy Drain and Shower Pouch

What you need to know: This product has a unique design with a useful shower pouch and covered pockets.

What you’ll love: This surgical drain holder includes a roomy mesh shower pouch, as well as two pockets with protective flaps for additional security. It also comes with a belt that is comfortable and flexible for most wearers.

What you should consider: The material is thin and might not accommodate bigger drains.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


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Alex Kilpatrick writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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