Skip to Content

Incision And Drainage


Incision and drainage (I & D) is a procedure to drain a pocket of fluid, such as pus or blood.


The week before your procedure:

  • Write down the correct date, time, and location of your procedure.
  • Arrange a ride home. Ask a family member or friend to drive you home after your surgery or procedure. Do not drive yourself home.
  • Ask your caregiver if you need to stop using aspirin or any other prescribed or over-the-counter medicine before your procedure or surgery.
  • Bring your medicine bottles or a list of your medicines when you see your caregiver. Tell your caregiver if you are allergic to any medicine. Tell your caregiver if you use any herbs, food supplements, or over-the-counter medicine.

The night before your procedure:

Ask caregivers about directions for eating and drinking.

The day of your procedure:

  • Ask your caregiver before taking any medicine on the day of your procedure. These medicines include insulin, diabetic pills, high blood pressure pills, or heart pills. Bring a list of all the medicines you take, or your pill bottles, with you to the hospital.
  • Caregivers may insert an intravenous tube (IV) into your vein. A vein in the arm is usually chosen. Through the IV tube, you may be given liquids and medicine.
  • An anesthesiologist will talk to you before your surgery. You may need medicine to keep you asleep or numb an area of your body during surgery. Tell caregivers if you or anyone in your family has had a problem with anesthesia in the past.
  • You or a close family member will be asked to sign a legal document called a consent form. It gives caregivers permission to do the procedure or surgery. It also explains the problems that may happen, and your choices. Make sure all your questions are answered before you sign this form.


What will happen:

Your healthcare provider will give you medicine to numb the area so you do not feel pain during the procedure. He will make an incision in your skin above the pocket of fluid. Your healthcare provider will drain the fluid and clean out the area with gauze or a cotton swab. Your wound may be packed loosely with gauze to keep it open so it can continue to drain as it heals. A bandage will be placed over your wound to absorb the drainage.

After your procedure:

Healthcare providers will monitor you closely for any problems. Do not get out of bed until your healthcare provider says it is okay. You may be allowed to go home when a healthcare provider sees that you are okay. Have someone stay with you for 24 hours after you get home.


  • You cannot make it to your appointment.
  • You have a fever.
  • You get a cold or the flu.
  • You have questions or concerns about your procedure.


You may have pain or bleeding at the site of the incision. You may have a scar after your wound heals. Fluid may build up again and create a pocket in the same area. You may get an infection at the site of your wound or throughout your body.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Learn more about Incision And Drainage (Precare)

Micromedex® Care Notes