Abdominal Drainage

What is an abdominal drainage?

This is a procedure where abnormal fluid from your abdomen is removed. It is usually performed using ultrasound, or occasionally CT guidance.
There are two main types,
• Diagnostic – in which a small sample of fluid is collected for pathological analysis to gain more information.
• Therapeutic – in which a large amount of fluid is removed to make you feel more comfortable, decrease abdominal distension and ease your breathing.

No preparation is required although it is important to contact us and let us know if you are taking any blood thinning medications.
We require you to come with someone to assist you and drive you home after the procedure. Public transport is not acceptable. Should your circumstances be that you do not have anyone to accompany you, please contact us immediately to discuss.

A diagnostic tap will take approximately twenty (20) minutes. A therapeutic drain can take up to two hours, depending on how much fluid is removed and how fast it flows out.

You will be changed into a gown and an ultrasound or CT will then be performed to find a suitable area where fluid has collected (usually in your lower abdomen). This spot is marked, the skin cleaned, and local anaesthetic injected. For a diagnostic drain, a longer needle will be inserted and some fluid removed.
For a therapeutic drain, a special needle or tube will be inserted, taped into place and connected to a bag. Fluid will drain into the bag. When enough fluid has drained, the needle/drain will be removed, and a waterproof dressing placed over the needle site. If you are feeling well, you will be free to go home. You will be awake throughout the procedure.

After Your Examination
A waterproof dressing is applied at the needle site. Please leave this on for twenty-four (24) hours. Following this, the dressing can then be removed. You may have a shower, but please refrain from baths and swimming for twenty-four (24) hours following the procedure.
If any of the following develop, please consult your doctor or contact us on (02) 9170 4500 during office hours. If you cannot get on to anyone and feel concerned, please attend your local hospital:
➢ Fever
➢ Redness or swelling at the needle site
➢ The needle site is warm to touch
➢ Excessive or continued drainage from the needle site
➢ Bleeding from the needle site

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