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Jackson-Pratt Drain Care

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Apr 2, 2024.

What is a Jackson-Pratt (JP) drain and how does it work?

A JP drain is used to remove fluids that build up in an area of your body after surgery. The JP drain is a bulb-shaped device connected to a tube. One end of the tube is placed in the surgery site. The other end comes out through a small cut in your skin, called the drain site. The bulb is connected to this end. You may have 1 or more stitches to hold the tube in place. The JP drain removes fluids by creating suction in the tube. The bulb is squeezed flat and expands as it fills with fluid.

How do I change the bandage around my JP drain?

If you have a bandage, change it 1 time each day. Change your bandage if it gets wet.

How do I empty the JP drain?

Empty the bulb when it is half full or every 8 to 12 hours.

How do I prevent the tubing from clogging?

Use the following steps to clear or strip the tubing. Your healthcare provider will tell you how often to do this:

When will my JP drain be removed?

The amount of fluid that you drain will decrease as you heal. The JP drain usually is removed when less than 30 milliliters (2 tablespoons) is collected in 24 hours. Ask your healthcare provider when and how your JP drain will be removed.

What are the risks of a JP drain?

The JP drain site may be painful or tender. You may have trouble lying on the side with your JP drain. Your JP drain site may leak. The JP drain may be pulled out by accident. The tubing may get blocked, crack, or break. The tubing may damage your tissue. You may have a scar. The JP drain site may get infected. This infection could spread inside your body.

When should I seek immediate care?

When should I call my doctor?

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 healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Further information

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