What is a surgical drain?
A surgical drain is a soft and flexible plastic tube that is connected to a plastic collection bulb. Drains are used to prevent fluid from accumulating at the surgery site while the wound or incision site is healing.
Surgical drains are usually in place for about 1 to 3 weeks after surgery, or until the drainage decreases to a small amount.
Do’s and Don’ts While Your Drain is in Place
Your doctor will advise and recommend the most suitable type of anaesthesia to be administered based on your condition. They include:
- DO NOT drive if you are taking pain medication as it will make you feel drowsy
- DO NOT drive until your drain has been removed, unless otherwise advised by your doctor/surgeon
- Keep the drain collection tube anchored to your clothing to prevent it from being pulled out
- Keep the drain in your pocket or a shoulder bag when you are moving around
- Keep the drain site dressing clean and dry at all times
What would I expect after the surgery?
You may be attached with a Redivac Drain, which is easy to use and manage at home. Please ensure that you follow these instructions daily:
- Check that there is constant vacuum in the bottle
- Ensure that the green vacuum indicator at the top of the drain is in a downward (pressed) position as this indicates that the suction in the bottle is active
- Your nurse will show you how the drain should be checked to ensure that it is working properly
Measuring the drainage
Please follow the following instructions on how to measure the drainage at home:
- Mark the bottle each morning to show the level of the fluid
- Record and measure the amount of fluid collected in your drain every morning at the same time daily
- Subtract the recording from the one that you have marked the day before to find the difference
It is important to measure the drainage at the same time every day to obtain the 24hr reading.
Your nurse will show you how to care for your drain and record the measurements so that you can monitor the drainage output at home.
How do I change the drainage bottle?
You may be provided with a spare drainage bottle and some antiseptic wipes. Your nurse will show you how to change the bottle if required.
You may need to change the bottle at home if:
- The bottle is full. The green vacuum indicator will be completely expanded, indicating that there is no suction left
- The tube gets disconnected from the bottle
What should I do if the drain falls out?
The drain tubing is usually attached with stitches to keep it in place. If the drain falls out, please following the following instructions:
- Contact your doctor immediately. You will need to bring along the detached bottle and tube to the hospital/clinic
- DO NOT discard the tube and the bottle
- If you experience excessive leakage from the area where the drain is, cover it with the pad, secure with some tape and contact your doctor immediately
- Place the transparent dressing film with pad provided over the small wound where the drain was inserted
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