Abscess Drainage Tube

An Abscess Drainage Catheter (Tube) Allows Drainage of Infected Fluid


  • You will be sore for a few days after the catheter is inserted. This may limit your activity.
  • You should continue to avoid any activity that causes pulling or tugging on the catheter or causes pain around the catheter insertion site.
  • Check with your physician if you feel you need pain medication.

For Best Drainage and Comfort:

  • Position the tube and bag by keeping it taped securely below the insertion site without kinking the tube.
  • Keep the dressing around the drain insertion site as dry as possible. Do not swim, go in a hot tub or take a tub bath while the drain is in place.
  • You may sponge bathe or shower. You can tape a piece of plastic wrap (Saran wrap® or Press and Seal®) to cover the dressing.

Catheter Fastener

To make it easier for you to take care of your drainage catheter at home, it has been secured to your body with Stay Fix, a catheter fastener. It was designed to be comfortable on your skin while it sticks securely and keeps your catheter from moving around. It also allows your catheter to lie flat against your body and helps prevent the catheter from kinking.

  • Inspect the Stay Fix fastener daily to make sure that it is still holding the catheter securely, and continues to stick to your skin.
  • Each fastener will remain on your skin for up to seven days. After that period of time, the fastener will need to be replaced.
  • If you notice the fastener coming loose sooner, have it replaced with a new Stay Fix.
  • Make sure your wash your hands before and after emptying or flushing your drainage tube.

Emptying Your Drainage Bag

  • Empty the bag when it is half full to prevent it from becoming too heavy.

Empty the Leg Bag as Follows:

  1. Turn the bag upside down.
  2. Remove the bottom cap from the bag.
  3. Pour bag contents into a container for measuring volume if your doctor instructed you to record your drainage output. If not, pour contents directly into toilet.
  4. Replace cap on bag.

Empty Standard Drainage Bag as Follows:

  1. Unclamp rubber hose at base of bag.
  2. Pour the contents into a container for measuring volume if your doctor instructed you to record your drainage output. If not, pour contents directly into toilet.
  3. Re-clamp rubber hose.

Flushing Your Drainage Catheter

Some patients will need to flush the tube to make sure it stays open. Your radiologist has instructed you to flush your catheter _______ time(s) a day. Flush the catheter as follows:

  1. Turn the stopcock off to the drainage bag and on to the drainage catheter (note arrow).
  2. Remove cap from stopcock.
  3. Use an alcohol prep pad to cleanse the port.
  4. Attach a 10 ml syringe of normal saline to the stopcock and flush the drainage tube. Do not pull fluid back from the tube into the syringe.
  5. Turn the stopcock off to the syringe port. Disconnect the syringe and replace the cap on the stopcock.


You were given medication during your procedure. You can expect to feel dizzy, weak and drowsy for as long as 12 hours after your procedure.

  • DO NOT drive a car or operate machinery for the remainder of the day. Your reflexes and coordination are not normal.
  • No alcoholic beverages today.
  • Postpone signing any important papers or making any important decision for 24 hours.
  • Because of the effects of the medication, we recommend that you have someone stay with you for 12-24 hours or overnight following your procedure.

Call your doctor if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • Fever greater than 101 degrees or chills
  • Sudden stop to drainage or excessive drainage around the catheter insertion site.

These could be signs that the catheter is clogged:

  • Skin redness, swelling or increased tenderness at the insertion site
  • Large amounts of bloody drainage
  • Your catheter has been pulled out

You may purchase supplies for catheter care at a local medical supply company. Supplies to have on hand include:

  • 10 ml Saline flush syringes
  • 4” x 4” gauze
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Tegaderm transparent dressing
  • Tape to secure the catheter to your skin
  • Alcohol prep pads
  • Measuring container to record drain outputs (if ordered)

Providing safe, quality patient care is our highest priority. To help ensure quality and safety, we ask that you do not bring young children with you to your appointments, as children are not allowed to accompany you during Imaging procedures. Staff is unable to monitor your child in your absence.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact your provider.

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