A pilot study was performed to determine if early discharge with the drain in situ following axillary lymphadenectomy is feasible and safe. One hundred and one women who had axillary lymphadenectomy as part of their breast cancer treatment were studied. Ninety-six were offered early discharge with the axillary drain in situ, five were unsuitable for early discharge. The cohort who opted for early discharge (n = 39) had a lower rate of seroma formation (18% vs 34%) and a reduction in median hospital stay of 5 days. Patient satisfaction was high in both groups and there were no complications associated with early discharge or drain displacement. Early discharge after axillary lymphadenectomy with the axillary drain in situ is safe, feasible, popular with patients and offers considerable resource savings.