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How to Care For Your Drain

You have had a drain placed in an abscess, which you will need to care for until it is removed. This will include flushing the tube daily as well as cleaning the tube site and changing the dressing. You may need to keep an external drain for several weeks until your abscess has resolved, so it will be important for you to understand how to properly care for the drain. 

You will flush the drain with a sterile saline daily as instructed. Flushing the drain will keep the tube functioning properly. After flushing, empty the drainage bag and record the output. Please let us know when the drainage slows down to less then 10 cc per day for several days. It will then be time for us to evaluate the abscess in interventional radiology.

Contact Us

Speak to our clinical coordinator for any of your treatment concerns.

Hours: Mon-Fri 8 am–5 pm  Phone: 801-581-2967

After-Hours Hospital paging operator: 801-581-2121  Ask for the interventional radiology resident on call.

Flushing Your Drain

  1. Turn the three-way stopcock off to the drainage bag.
  2. Clean the flushing port with alcohol and attach the flush syringe.
  3. Gently inject the flush.
  4. Turn the stopcock off to the flushing port and open to the bag.

It will also be important to change the dressing and clean around the tube daily. Remove the dressing and clean around the tube with sterile saline using a cotton ball or Q-tip. If there is a crusty discharge around the tube you may clean it with a little hydrogen peroxide. 

Place a clean gauze pad over the tube site and secure it with tape. If the tube site becomes red, irritated, or there is excessive drainage around the tube, please contact the nurse or clinical coordinator.

Recording Output

Please record the daily output of your drain and subtract the saline flush from the output. When the net output drops to less than 10cc per day for several days it will be time to reassess the drain.

Please call the nurse or your doctor to arrange the drain removal. If you have questions regarding your drain, please do not hesitate to call.

Decompressing a Suction Drain

  1. Turn the stopcock off to the drain. (Turn the valve up Off to the drain and the body.)
  2. Open the stopcock to air by unscrewing the flushing port. The accordion suction will expand when properly decompressed.
  3. Replace the flushing port. Firmly compress the accordion suction by placing your thumbs on top and fingers behind the accordion bulb and squeeze the accordion bulb. You will need to repeat this one to two times to empty the suction bulb well.
  4. Turn the valve off to the flushing port. This will open the drain to suction drainage.

Note: The accordion suction must be compressed and the stop cock turned off to the flushing port for the drain to function.

Daily Reminders

  1. Flush drain daily as instructed.
  2. Decompress the suction and empty the drainage bag.
  3. Daily record the net output on a log sheet. Please remember to subtract out the flush before recording the net output.
  4. Change the drain site dressing daily.