Removal of a Drain


A wound drainage system is used in certain surgical procedures. Indications for its use are to:

  • prevent the accumulation of fluid (blood, serous fluid, pus)
  • prevent the accumulation of air (dead space)
  • observe the characteristics of fluid.

Many drainage systems are sutured into place. This is done by the surgeon during the surgical procedure. A wound drainage system is generally in situ for 3–5 days postoperatively or may be removed when minimal drainage is observed (Berman et al. 2015).  Nurses are responsible for the removal of wound drainage systems; this is performed with the direction of the medical officer or surgeon.

Any dressings to be placed on the wound drainage removal site must be considered and included in the equipment collected prior to performing the procedure. Pain relief must also be considered as wound drainage removal can be painful.

Removal of the wound drainage system must be documented on all appropriate forms/charts, for example, wound management chart and fluid balance chart.

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