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Post-Surgical Drain Care

After surgery, you will have one or two drains, called a Jackson-Pratt (JP) drain, placed near the incision. This device collects fluid, under suction, from your surgical area. The drain promotes healing and recovery, and reduces the chance of infection. The drain will be in place until the drainage slows enough for your body to reabsorb fluid on its own. While you are hospitalized the nursing staff will care for the drain and teach you to continue to do so at home.

How to Empty Your JP Drain

Note: Wash your hands thoroughly before emptying your drain(s).

  1. Have the plastic measuring cup from the hospital ready to collect and measure the drainage. Please measure the output at the same two times every 24 hours and record the amount. 
  2. Unpin the drain from your clothing.
  3. Open the top of the drain. Turn the drain upside down and squeeze the contents of the bulb into the measuring cup. Be sure to empty the bulb as completely as possible. Flush the contents in the toilet.
  4. Use the drain output log chart to record the amount of drainage twice a day or any time the bulb is full. Record the total for 24 hours for each drain you have.
  5. If you have more than one drain, remember to record the drainage from each drain separately.
  6. To prevent infection, do not let the stopper or top of the bottle touch the measuring cup or any other surface.
  7. Use one hand to squeeze all of the air from the drain. With the drain still squeezed, use your other hand to replace the top. This creates the suction necessary to remove the fluids from your body.
  8. Pin the drain back on your clothing to avoid pulling it out accidently.
  9. Wash your hands again. Remember to wash your hands before and after the procedure to reduce the risk of infection.
Stripping the Tube

Often products of healing will not flow out of the narrow tube and prevent proper draining.  If you do not have drainage, then:

  • Hold the tube near where it is inserted in to the skin with your one hand.
  • Use the other hand to hold a pencil and gently squeeze the tubing with the pencil while moving it down toward the drain away from your skin.  This forces the more sold material into the bulb for better drainage.
  • Repeat as necessary to start the draining again.
Removal of the Tube
  • The tube may be removed once a single tube output is less than 30cc (1 oz.) in 24 hours.
  • Please call the office if the output becomes thicker or has a bad odor .


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National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers (NAPBC)

The St. John Providence Breast Care Program is fully accredited by the American College of Surgeons. Our Breast Care Program was first accredited in 2009 and was just reaccredited in 2012. We are one of just nine programs in Michigan accredited through the NAPBC.


The St. John Providence Health System Breast Care Program is here for you. If you are a woman under or uninsured and need a mammogram we may be able to help. Call our Cancer Care Coordinators for more information at 1-866-246-4673.

Our position on the importance of mammography

St. John Providence Health System Breast Care Program is strongly opposed to the new recommendations from the United States Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF). Our breast program will continue to follow the guidelines set forth by the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) and the American Cancer Society (ACS).