This video describes how to use your Jackson Pratt drainage system. It demonstrates how to milk the tubing of your drain, empty the drainage bulb, and properly record the amount of fluid collected in the bulb. For more information about how to use and care for your Jackson Pratt drainage system, please refer to the printed materials given to you by your nurse.



A bulb drain is a small, plastic reservoir which creates a gentle suction. It is used to remove excess fluid from a surgical wound. The color and amount of fluid will vary. Immediately after surgery, the fluid is bright red. It may gradually change to a yellow color. When the amount decreases to about 2 tablespoons (15 to 30 cc) per 24 hours x 2 days, your caregiver will usually remove it. 



  • Keep the bulb compressed at all times, except while emptying it. The compression creates suction.
  • Keep sites where the tubes enter the skin dry and covered with a light bandage (dressing).
  • Tape the tubes to your skin, 1 to 2 inches below the insertion sites, to keep from pulling on your stitches. Tubes are stitched in place and will not slip out.
  • Pin the bulb to your shirt (not to your pants) with a safety pin.
  • For the first few days after surgery, there usually is more fluid in the bulb. Empty the bulb whenever it becomes half full because the bulb does not create enough suction if it

Monitor drain output and record daily amount. Drains can be removed once output is less than 30cc per day for 2 days in a row. This will be removed at the office. Prior to arriving for the removal of the drains, taking pain medication prior will help with the discomfort when the drains are removed.

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