One-hundred and two women had axillary lymphadenectomy for breast cancer and were randomised to early discharge with axillary drain in situ on the third postoperative day or standard duration 7 day hospital stay. The two groups did not differ with respect to seroma formation, wound infection or psychological profile as measured by the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale and Spielberger State Trait and Anxiety Inventory. Patient satisfaction levels were high in the early discharge group. The results confirm that early discharge after axillary lymphadenectomy is safe, practicable and satisfactory for patients. Such a policy offers considerable resource savings. (C) 2000 Harcourt Publishers Ltd.
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