What is wound drainage?
Wound drainage provides a way for unnecessary body fluids or air to flow out of the body from a wound.
What is a wound drain?
After surgery, some patients require wound drains such as the one pictured above. The wound drain is inserted while the patient is in the operating room receiving general anesthesia. The purpose of the drain is to remove fluid and/or blood from the surgical site. This helps the healing process. Not all patients need wound drains following surgery. Wound drains are usually made of plastic. One end is placed within the wound to be drained and the other end is connected to a suction collection device. The fluid may be collected in a drainage bag, plastic bulb, and plastic carton or onto a dressing.
How long is a wound drain used?
That depends on the type of surgery and the amount of fluid or blood draining from the wound. The surgeon closely evaluates the wound drain daily and decides when it should be removed. The nurses check on the drain frequently and empty it when necessary.
Does the wound drain hurt?
No. Usually the patient does not know that the wound drain is present unless they are told. The wound drain may sting when it is removed.
What happens if the patient rolls on it?
Normally nothing happens. Occasionally it may become blocked. However, the nurses assess the drain frequently to make sure that this does not happen.
Are there any potential complications associated with use of a wound drain?
Wound drains are usually not associated with significant complications.