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Any suggestions for managing drains?

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Good Morning! 

Reaching out to reconstructed TT Peeps who have had drains and anyone with experience with surgical drains.

I have two surgical drains that will be in place for at least 5 more days and could be in place for 19 more days depending on drainage.

From the attached, crude drawing you can see that the drains enter my body in a delicate area. :unsure: I am seeking any advice on how to manage these tubes to be as comfortable as possible.  This is not terrible, but if I can make this "better" I would like to do so.  If you have anything you learned that made it easier, please share.


1. I need to walk to remain healthy, prevent DVT, etc., but what I walk, my legs drag against the tubes and irritate the entry points into my body.  Any suggestions for how to prevent this?

2. When I sit, stand, lay down, shift position, the tubes get tugged and, at worst, I am worried that I am going to pull them out and, at best, it is very uncomfortable until I readjust them.

3. I frequently accidentally grab a tube when pulling clothing on or off and unintentionally yank a tube.  It is surprisingly easy to do!

They gave me an elastic belt with four velcro tabs.  Two tabs hold the drain bulbs.  The other two can hold the tubes, but those are not enough to avoid these issues.  

Thanks on advance for any suggestions!. 



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Ha Ha!  Sorry Aussiebear.  Didn't mean to creep anyone out.  I had my first post-op yesterday and, unfortunately, still too much fluid retention and drainage to remove the drains, so at least another week.  Since this area of the forum does not get much traffic, I will share my experience in case it might be helpful to others.  I have not found any great tricks to improve management of the drains, but I will say that, like most things, I am getting more used to them as time passes.

If you can sleep on your back you can get into a fairly comfortable position.  I am a side sleeper, which is more challenging.  I found that putting a pillow between my thighs is very helpful to keep the pressure off the drain tubes where they enter my body.  

Also, the elastic belt they cave me to hold the drains has four velcro tabs on which you can attach the drains.  I found that using three of the velcro tabs has worked best.  I center one of the three on my body and route the tubes through it. I attach the drains to the two on either side.  Crude drawing inserted. 

Having the tubes go through the center seems to control them better and keeps them from being jostled by by my legs.  Placing the drains where I do, gets them as close to my center-line as possible so I can sleep on my side without worrying about laying on one.  (That would certainly defeat the suction-purpose of the drain and "could" force the plug out resulting emptying the drain in bed, which would be a mess.)

Yesterday, I was 9 days post-op and was still draining about 3ccs per drain per hour or about 144 ccs per day.  I understand that drains are typically removed when drainage decreases to around 30 ccs per day.  The surgeon tightened my compression garments, which should force the fluid out.  Next appointment in 7 days. :)


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That's fine. My plastics surgeon keeps his patients in hospital for 4-5 days and claims the drains are out at discharge. Local forums seem to suggest that's pretty standard here. Will be interesting to see when I finally have mine scheduled.  For now though I'm battling a major eczema outbreak, something new to me and it is looking like it's potentially linked to the reactive hypoglycemia I've had since my bypass. Seriously over this RH. It seems like every few months there's another health issue and another specialist to add to my medical team.

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Sorry to hear that.  For me it has been injuries rather than health conditions.  :( About the time I get one fixed and healed, I injur something else.  At least my issues are self-inflicted.  I just need to realize, I'm not 20-30 years old anymore. :D 

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