Going home with your drain

After your surgery a wound drain may be inserted. A surgical drain is a tube used to remove pus, blood or other fluids from a wound. They are used to help the collection of fluid which can lead to infection and pain.

The drain maybe required to stay in for 5 to 7 days depending on how much fluid is drained over a 24 hour period.

Leaving hospital

The ward nurse will show you how to change the bottle, if required at home. You will be given a spare bottle to take home, an orange clinical waste bag and some gauze. Any unused bottles should be returned to the plastics dressing clinic when you return for your appointment.

Used bottles

You must bring any used bottles back to the hospital inside an orange bag when you come for your appointment. We will then dispose of these appropriately.

How to check your drain is working normally

It is important to inspect the drain to check that it is working correctly and that the vacuum is intact. Depending on which drain you have picture (A) and (B) show that the vacuum is intact and working correctly.

(A)                                                                          (B)

When to change the drain bottle

You may need to change the bottle at home if the bottle is full, if the tubing has disconnected or the suction has been lost. Picture (C) and (D) show each drain when they have lost their suction.

(C)                                                                                  (D)

Monitoring your drain at home

It is important to measure your drain at the same time each day, we recommend 8:00am.

The nurse will show you how to measure the drain bottle. It is important that the drain bottle is on a flat surface when being measured.

You should then mark on the bottle how much fluid is drained and write in down on the drain chart below

Drain Chart

Total amount drained prior to leaving hospital: __________ mls


Contact information

Plastics Dressing Clinic

Mon–Fri, 8:30am–5:30pm
E: chelwest.pdc@nhs.net

Plastic Surgery Clinical Nurse Specialist

Mon–Fri, 8am–4pm
T: 07385384435 or 07824502944

At all other times: Go to your nearest A&E

Patient Advice & Liaison Service (PALS)

If you have concerns or wish to give feedback about services, your care or treatment, you can contact the PALS office on the Ground Floor of the hospital just behind the main reception.

Alternatively, you can send us your comments or suggestions on one of our comment cards, available at the PALS office, or on a feedback form on our website www.chelwest.nhs.uk/pals.

We value your opinion and invite you to provide us with feedback.

T: 020 3315 6727
E: chelwest.cwpals@nhs.net

Camelia King-Martey