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Hemovac drain

Surgical drain; Hemovac drain - caring for; Hemovac drain - emptying; Hemovac drain - changing dressing

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A Hemovac drain is placed under your skin during surgery. This drain removes any blood or other fluids that might build up in this area. You can go home with the drain still in place.

What to Expect at Home

Your nurse will tell you how often you need to empty the drain. You will also be shown how to empty and take care of your drain. The following instructions will help you at home. If you have questions, ask your health care provider.

Emptying Your Drain

Items you will need are:

To empty your drain:

Changing Your Dressing

A dressing may be covering your drain. If not, keep the area around the drain clean with soapy water, when you are in the shower or during a sponge bath. Ask your nurse if you are allowed to shower with the drain in place.

Items you will need are:

To change the dressing:

When to Call the Doctor

Call your doctor if:

Related Information

Surgical wound care - open


Smith SF, Duell DJ, Martin BC, Gonzalez L, Aebersold M. Wound care and dressings. In: Smith SF, Duell DJ, Martin BC, Gonzalez L, Aebersold M, eds. Clinical Nursing Skills: Basic to Advanced Skills. 9th ed. New York, NY: Pearson; 2016:chap 25.


Review Date: 3/5/2020  

Reviewed By: Debra G. Wechter, MD, FACS, general surgery practice specializing in breast cancer, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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