Care of your drain at home.

It is important that you care for your drain site (where the tubing enters the skin) and measure the drainage fluid each day. Follow these instructions.

Care of the skin around the drain site:

  • Gently clean the area around the tube with mild soap and water with normal bathing.
  • Pat the area dry with a clean towel.
  • Inspect the area for any redness, tenderness, swelling or drainage from around the tube. A small 1/8 inch rim of redness is normal.

If your drain site has drainage:

  • If your drain site is draining fluid apply a square of gauze and tape to secure it in place.
  • Change the dressing as needed

How to measure the drainage:

Empty the drainage bulb before you go to bed each night and anytime during the day when it is half full. It is important for you to write down the time and amount of drainage on the drain log. The color will change from red to reddish-yellow to yellow. The fluid in the tube may appear cloudy and have some gelatinous material as well. The amount of drainage will slowly decrease day by day.

Example of surgical drain log

  1. Wash your hand with soap and water.
  2. Open the spout of the drainage container.
  3. Pour the contents into a measuring cup.
  4. Write the time and amount of drainage on the chart.
  5. Discard the fluid into the toilet.
  6. Close the drainage container by squeezing the bulb as flat a possible and then (while squeezing it) replace the stopper.
  7. If you have other drains then repeat the process.
  8. You may rinse the outside of the bulb with water and wash your hand when you are done.

"Milking" or stripping the drain:

  1. Wash your hands with soap and water.
  2. Use one hand to hold the drain tubing VERY FIRMLU ;near the insertion site to prevent pulling out the tube.
  3. With your other hand, squeeze the tubing near your first hand, with your thumb and forefinger. As you squeeze the tubing together, slide your thumb and forefinger down the tubing, squeezing the fluid out of the tubing as your go toward the bulb.
  4. Release your first hand and move it close to your second hand (the one nearer the bulb). Release your second hand and then repeat the squeeze, slide routine. The tubing will stretch as you strip it.
  5. Repeat this as needed.
  6. Make sure your drain tubing the secure with tape or suture at the insertion site so it does not accidentally get pulled out.

How to remove your own drain:

When the drainage of any given drain is down to about 30 cc in 24 hours it is ready to be removed.

  1. Wash your hands with soap and water.
  2. Open the stopper on the bulb so that the bulb fills with air and is off suction.
  3. Replace the stopper.
  4. Apply gentle traction on the tubing at the insertion site so you can see where the suture holding the tube is attached to the skin.
  5. Use a small scissors to cut one site of the suture near the skin. The tubing should new be free from the skin.
  6. Use a gauze or tissue and apply gentle pressure near the insertion site. With the other hand pull gently but firmly on the tube. It will slide out. It may take more force than you think and it may cause some mild temporary discomfort.
  7. After the tube is out there may be some drainage from the insertion site for a day or so. Apply a small bandage.
  8. Discard the drain tube.
  9. Wash your hands with soap and water.
  10. Yea... You did it.