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How to Care for Your Surgical Drain

March 30, 2022

Plastic surgery RN, Adrienne Yanich, explains the purpose of a surgical drain, reviews what you can expect, and instructs on how to care for your surgical drain. The above video showcases an abdominal surgical drain which is commonly used after tummy tucks. The information in this video also applies to surgical drains used for other areas of the body.


  • Drains are inserted at your surgical incision site to stop fluid from building up. Fluid buildup can prevent proper healing of the surgical site.
  • The amount of fluid that connects in the bulb will decrease over time. Fluid may also change color and consistency throughout your healing.
  • Stacie Isler, Plastic Surgery P.A., demonstrates how to strip your surgical tube and how to empty the bulb of your surgical drain in this video.
  • Ensure that each time you empty your drain, you record fluid output in your drainage record chart. Once your drain fluid levels are below 25 CCs for 2 consecutive 24-hour periods, your patient care team will remove your surgical drain in the office.
  • Remember that if you have any questions or issues with your drain or if you are experiencing increased pain and/or redness, reach out to our office.