Caring for Your Drain at Home
When you leave the hospital, you’ll receive either a Hemovac or Jackson Pratt drain. The drain aids in healing by clearing the wound and preventing swelling or pooling of blood and fluid. The drain includes a tube that lies beneath your skin, held in place with a stitch.
You must empty the drain and measure fluid at least twice daily. When the amount of drainage is less than 30-40cc in 24 hours, the drain is ready to be removed. You can schedule your drain removal appointment by calling Cindy at 787-7184. Your appointment will be with a nurse at the Plastic Surgery Clinic, GD129 Yellow Desk, at the Health Sciences Centre.
- How to empty your drain
- How to “milk” the drain if it becomes blocked
- When to call your doctor
- What to do when a drain gets loose
To empty your drain, you will require a measuring cup and a drainage recording sheet.
- Wash your hands.
- Unclip the drain system from your clothing.
- Open the plug on the drain.
- Turn the drain upside down and pour the drainage into your measuring cup.
- Press down on the container until it is as flat as possible, to re-establish the suction.
- A Jackson Pratt drain may be squeezed in the palm of your hand – without letting go, replace the plug on the drainage system.
- Check the measuring cup and record the amount of drainage.
- Check the color and smell of the drainage and notify your doctor if the drainage has a foul smell.
- Flush the drainage down the toilet.
- Reattach the drain to your clothing at a place that is lower than where the tube comes out of your skin.
- Wash your hands.
On occasion, a clot may from in the tubing and block your drain tube. If this happens you may need to “strip” or “milk” the tube. If your drain is in a difficult place to reach you may need someone to help you do this.
Milk the drain if:
- You see a clot in the tube that is blocking the flow of fluid
- There is fluid leaking from where the tube goes into your skin
- You have a sudden drop in the amount of drainage
- Grasp the tube firmly near where it leaves the skin with one hand and stabilize the tube so it will not be pulled out.
- Firmly pinch the tubing with your other hand using your thumb and first finger.
- Slowly and firmly slide your pinched fingers down the tubing. The tubing should stretch slightly when you do this.
- Do NOT pull on the tubing so that there is any tugging at the insertion site.
- Repeat as needed.
- You have a sudden increase or decrease in the amount of drainage
- Your drainage has a foul smell
- You have increased redness, swelling or pain around the drain site
- You cannot get the drain to remain compressed
- The drain is pulled out
- You have a fever greater than 38.4 degrees Celsius or experience sweats, chills or rash
- You have nausea, vomiting or diarrhea
- Your drain has been in for more that three weeks
It is not uncommon for a stitch to let go and a drain tube to slip out. There is no need to worry, as this is NOT a medical emergency.
If a drain tube is accidently pulled out from the site, NEVER try to push the tube back into your body. Pushing a tube back, even a tiny amount could cause serious infection.
If your drain has slipped a small amount and the canister can still hold suction, please tape the drain to hold it in place.
If the canister is not longer able to hold suction, let the rest of the tube slide out from your body, and cover the area with dry gauze dressing.
For further instructions, please call your nurse:
|Surgeon||Plastic Surgery Nurse||Phone|
|Dr. Buchel||Heather||204 787-8830|
|Dr. Hayakawa||Shaney||204 787-7240|
|Dr. Islur||Maureen||204 237-2800|
|Dr. Olivier||Maureen||204 237-2800|
|Dr. Sigurdson||Heather||204 787-8830|
- After hours, please call Health Sciences Centre paging at 787-2071 and ask for a plastics resident.