During your surgery, Doctor Pellegrino or Doctor Perrotta might choose to use drains. By preventing fluid accumulation under the skin, the drains help prevent infection and shorten the time of inflammation, thereby speeding up recovery. Generally, each drain will remain in place until the volume of fluid it collects in a 24-hour period is less than 30cc or 30 milliliters.
While you are in the Recovery Room the nursing staff provide you and your caregiver with instruction on drain care.
Below are some general instruction on emptying and monitoring a drain:
1. Wash your hands, then unplug the cap on the top of the bulb.
2. Once the bulb is no longer collapsed under pressure, note and record the amount of fluid it contains. The unit of measurement is cc or milliliter.
3. Invert the bulb and sqeeze out the fluid into a cup. Discard the fluid into a sink or toilet.
4. While squeezing most of the air out of the bulb, plug the cap back into the bulb. This puts the entire system under vacuum.
The vacuum holding the bulb collapsed will pull fluid from under your skin. When the bulb is no longer collapsed or under vacuum it is unable to pull and collect any fluid.
Your doctor will instruct you to empty your drain(s) every four to six hours. As you are doing so, record on a piece of paper the amount of fluid each drain collects. If any drain collects more than 25cc per hour for two consecutive hours, call your doctor immediately as this could be a sign of excessive bleeding. As mentioned above, when each drain collects less than 30cc in a 24-hour period, it might be ready for removal. If you have more than one drain, remember to record the drainage from each drain separately. Remember to wash your hands before this procedure to reduce the risk of infection.