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Care After Surgery (Drains)

A Jackson-Pratt (JP) drain is a plastic drain is placed during surgery to remove excess fluid or blood from the surgical site. If the fluid were to stay in the surgical site, it could press on surrounding structures, become infected, and cause other issues.

feeding tube and JP drains

  • A drain is removed when the output is very low, usually <30 mL per day.
  • Home drain care: If drain output is too high to be removed before leaving the hospital, a patient can go home with the drain left in place.
    • Drains do NOT prevent a patient from showering or bathing.
    • Keep the drain pinned to clothing to prevent pulling and tugging at the skin.
    • Measure and record the output twice a day in a journal/log. Bring that journal/log to your clinic appointment.
    • Keep the drain bulb compressed down so that it has negative pressure to suck out the fluid from the surgical site.
  • After drain removal, cover the site with a Band-Aid or dressing for one day. After one day, the hole usually is closed. You can use a Band-Aid or other dressing if there is leakage from the hole. Shower and bathe as usual.
  • Normal color of the output is clear/light yellow or clear/light red