Home Forums Melanoma: Stage III GROIN DRAIN PROBLEMS

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    I had a melanoma removed 13.5 years ago and recently found a lump in my left groin. Diagnosed as Stage 3 I was offered the opportunity to be placed on a neoadjuvant trial (Dabrafenib/Trametinib) through the Melanoma Institute of Australia.

    Having been on the meds since Sept last year, the tumour had disappeared by the time of my inguinal dissection. Operation on December 14 went well and was discharged after a few days with a Jackson Pratt and Penrose drain in place. Pathology on the 9 removed lymph nodes revealed no malignant cells. Very happy with the results and so thankful to my medical team!

    My experiences with the JP drain have been mixed to say the least. It blocked about 3 weeks after discharge and the tube was completely removed so that just had 2-3cm of the drain exiting at my leg. The fluid has been collected into a fluid drainage bag and measurements which began at 150mL each 12 hours has now reduced to 30-50mLs over 24 hours. I have been told I need to have <30mLs over 24 hrs for 2 consecutive days before the drains can be removed.

    The fluid is now tending to leak from around the tube rather than through the tube (could the tube/drain be blocked again?) and after almost 6 weeks it seems to be one step forward 2 steps back in terms of fluid output.

    I’ve found it to be very emotionally draining and I’m scared about the fluid leaking. I’m also worried about a seroma developing after the drain is removed, whenever that might be. It just doesn’t seem to be ending.

    Today, I’ve spent most of my time sobbing and feeling very sad and dejected.

    Does someone have any answers as to whether what is happening is the norm?


    Catherine Poole

    I am so sorry to hear of all you have been through. Has the doctor listened to your issues? I hope others might have some input for you and I will see what is in the research. These things are rarely easy.



    That tube needs to come out. I am a nurse and the only reason for leakage around tube(any type) is that it is clogged. My concern for you is infection. I think 6 wks is too long and the modifications done to it might even increase the chances of infection. Another possible reason could be scar tissue forming around the tube and narrowing it so no fluid can pass through the drain. I would “gently” tell the Dr you are concerned. Surgeons usually don’t take kindly to suggestions from patients or Nurses! My Surgeon accused me of being depressed when I refused radiation to groin following my CLND after I had a huge hole in my groin from infection and had to have a second surgery. The Radiation Oncologist said she wouldn’t do radiation even if I begged her. You can read some of my old posts from 2011 to see what happened to me from an infected groin. You are so close there is no reason to still have the tube esp since it’s not working anyway. You might get a seroma but that can be dealt with a lot easier than an infection. I hope all goes well.

    Mary Sue


    Sorry to hear about your drain issues, I understand what you are saying. Just had drain removed after 3 weeks from underarm.

    But my surgeon had a nurse come by my house to check on it and also check the places where he removed lymph nodes. They came by couple times a week, otherwise I would be a nervous wreck

    wondering if it was going to fall out or become infected etc.

    Surgeon removed it when drainage was below 30 cc’s a day

    Hope you get help soon

    Catherine Poole

    That is wonderful that you were checked at home. Are you in the U.S.?


    Had superficial inguindal lymph node dissection almost a month ago. The surgeon also included a JP drain. A week and a half ago the drain failed and fluid was oozing out of the insertion area and had to change my dressing every hour as I couldn’t get scheduled for a replacement procedure until the following day. The new drain is working well, however I developed an infection in the meantime. I’m guessing that all of the oozing fluid didn’t help.

    Now on antibiotic and it seems to be working although I’m still draining well over 200ml per day. I have no idea when and what is going to make it slow down.

    Wishing you well.


    I had one of these drains for 2 1/2 weeks, they’re just annoying but necessary, the tubing will plug up from time to time but eventually you will be free of it.

    hang in there :D


    I had a drain in the axilla. It’s pretty surprising to see all the stuff that comes out. But it does subside. If the amount of the drainage is concerning to you, you can always give the doctor’s office a call to ease any worries.

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