Jackson-Pratt Drain Instructions

Please allow a few seconds for the .pdf to load. If you want to download the instructions to print, please click here.


HTML Friendly Text Below 


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

It is used to remove fluid build up of your body after surgery. The JP drain is a bulb-shaped device connected to a tube. One end of the tube is placed inside you during surgery & the other end comes out through a small cut in your skin. The bulb is connected to this end. You may have a stitch to hold the tube in place. The JP drain removes fluids by creating suction in the tube & will expand as it fills with fluid.

What are the risks of having a Jackson-Pratt drain?

  • The drain can cause minor pain and discomfort.
  • The drain may leak or can be pulled out by accident.
  • The tubing may get blocked, crack, or break.
  • The draining can damage your tissue or it may lead to scarring.
  • The JP drain site can get infected, if this occurs, contact your provider.

What should I do if the tubing becomes clogged?

JP-drain requires daily milking and it is best to milk it 3 times a day.

When milking the drain or if it becomes clogged, hold the tubing in place with your thumb and index finger and pinch the tubing to prevent the tube from being pulled out of your skin. Next use two fingers, to slide  the clog down the tubing to the bulb, and repeat as necessary until it is unclogged.

How do I empty the Jackson-Pratt drain?

  • Empty the bulb when it is half full or every 8-12 hrs.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water, then remove the plug from the bulb.
  • Pour the fluid out and document the date, time, and amount of fluid collected.
  • Clean the plug with alcohol before re-capping.
  • The bulb should stay flat until it starts to fill with fluid again.
  • Flush the fluid down the toiled and wash your hands.

When should I seek immediate care?

  • If you have a cloudy yellow or brown drainage from the drain site
  • If the drainage has a bad smell or odor.
  • If you JP drain breaks or comes out.

When should I contact my provider?

  • If you drain less than 30 milliliters (2 tablespoons) in 24 hours. This may mean that your drain can be removed.
  • If you suddenly stop draining or you think the drain is blocked.
  • If you have a fever higher than 101.5°F (38.6°C).
  • If you have increased pain, redness, or swelling around the drain site.