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Does JP Drain Removal Hurt? If You Are Careful, It Does Not

Does the term Jackson-Pratt drain ring a bell when you hear of it? Probably, you are more familiar with the doctors calling it the JP drain. Well, whatever the term is, the questions that come along with this are pretty similar.

Patients who undergo abdominal surgery, mastectomy, joint replacement, and a few other operations require such post-operative drains. Even though it is a standard procedure, patients are often afraid of the thought of removing it.

As pain is assumed to be associated with every medical process, people tend to question JP drain removal. They continuously try to know if removing the drain creates any problem; so, does JP drain removal hurt? 

does JP drain removal hurt
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Table of Content

Stuff you need to know about JP Drain

JP drain stands for Jackson-Pratt drain after its inventors, Dr. Fredrick E. Jackson Dr.Richard A. Pratt. A JP drain is a rubber tubing. Doctors place it after conducting surgery to drain the fluids from the site.

The discharged fluids from the site of operation might create further complications. To avoid such problems, the insertion of a JP drain is required.

Not all operations require this. But surgeries where a considerable amount of drainage is expected require a JP drain. Also, it is necessary for draining fluid from an infected area.

The insertion of a drain can be both superficials on the skin or deep inside an organ or duct. Silastic tubes are present in the drainage tubes. The collected fluid from the surgical area gets away through the silastic tube with perforations.

Surgeries that Require Insertion of JP Drain

Not all types of surgeries need insertion of JP drain in the operation site. If you undergo any of the enlisted surgeries, you might have to go through this!

  • Plastic surgery includes myocutaneous flap surgery.
  • Breast surgery 
  • Orthopedic procedures 
  • Chest drainage
  • Chest surgery 
  • Infected cysts
  • Pancreatic surgery
  • Biliary surgery
  • Thyroid surgery
  • Neurosurgery
  • Urinary catheters
  • Nasogastric tubes

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Tenure of JP Drain in the Body

A JP drain can stay in your body until it drains not more than 30 ml of fluid per day. Drains you get for a facelift and neck lift can be removed within 1 to 3 days. The tenure of the JP drain in the body depends on the type of surgery one underwent. The same goes for the breast reduction procedure.

A tummy tucking surgery or abdominal surgery might need the JP drain for the longest time. It can sometimes stay for as long as one to two weeks.

Does JP drain removal hurt? Well, a JP drain in the body does not hurt or irritate. But, most patients feel anxious when it is time to remove. It is not unusual to get scared as it might trigger one about pain. During, inserting one might barely feel anything. But some patients have said about unbearable pain during the removal process.

It is better to remove the drain as early as possible. Otherwise, it might be harder to remove it later. Also, early removal will lessen the chances of getting infected.

Do not feel afraid, as many of the patients also talked about how they had not felt an ounce of pain. It varies from person to person. It also depends on the recovery of the site. Moreover, the removal process is significantly less. This momentary pain will let you get back to your happier days in no minute!

Problems that One Might Face with JP Drain

One might face different types of problems related to the JP drain. But, how to handle those? You may also not get the help of professionals on time. But, it is essential to know the solutions! Some common problems are-

  • The bulb is not compressed: This might take place if the bulb is not tightly squeezed. The leaking of the tubing can also be the reason behind this. 
  • During such moments, continue squeezing the bulb when you are replugging the stopper. Make sure you clean your hands and ensure proper hygiene before doing this.
  • Lack of drainage/ sudden lessening of drainage: The flow of drainage may get blocked sometimes. It happens when clumps of string clot together.
  • Milk your tubing while this happens. Follow the instructions that your doctor previously gives.
  • Fall of tubing: The tubing might fall off from the insertion site. It happens primarily due to the overexertion of the tubing. But, it is a rare thing to happen.

In such a case, place a bandage on the site and call your doctor as soon as possible.

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How to Take Care of JP Drain Site After Removal?

You should never forget some essential yet straightforward tips that will help you recover faster. Your JP drain removal will not create any significant problems if you know how to take care of the site. To avoid complications and pain, follow a few essential tips!

  1. Shower after 48 hours after pulling out the drain. If more than one drain, wait till your doctor takes out the last one from the body. 
  2. You can keep the medicine on the drain site for the rest of the day. Also, do not forget to take the medication on time. The antibiotic dose is essential for avoiding infection.
  3. The skin is going to seal up after the third day. Do not apply any ointment or lotion any further. Make sure you are not piling up your drain insertion site with unnecessary dressing!
  4. It is vital to wear comfortable clothes once you go through this process. For mastectomy and breast surgeries, avoid wearing bras. Tight elastics can be bad for post abdominal surgeries.

When to Call the Doctor?

Complications may occur even if you are extremely careful and continuously asking does JP drain removal hurts. But, how to know when you should contact a doctor? Before things get serious, check out a list of things to take care of your drain site. Make sure you do not delay calling a doctor if any of the following happens-

fever may makes you ask does JP drain removal hurt
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  • Fever that is higher than 100.4 F
  • If the bulb is failing to contain the suction
  • When the tubing falls off the body
  • If you notice Pus, swelling, warm upon touching or foul odor
  • Opening of the incision on its own
  • More than 100 ml drainage is not normal
  • If the color of the drainage appears red
  • Visible fluid leakage

Things to Avoid After JP Drain Removal

If you undergo JP drain removal, you should avoid a list of things. Avoiding this will help you recover soon. You can also stay safe from infections by following the following instructions-

  • Take a shower carefully and avoid using the pool, jacuzzi, or bathtub.
  • Do not apply hydrogen peroxide to the JP exit site.
  • Smoking delays healing. It is better not to smoke during your recovery days.
  • Avoid applying lotions, powders, or any oil that the doctor does not suggest.
  • Stay away from overexertion. It can cause unnecessary pain and the formation of seroma.
  • Do not sleep on the side of your incision or JP drain.

In case of any severe action, do not delay calling your doctor. JP drain is quite a simple operation. But, you can suffer from long-time pain if treated wrongly.


How long does it take for a drain hole to heal?

Removing the JP drain from the body might sound scary to most patients. And most of the patients are worried about ‘does JP drain removal hurt.’ But, it is a simple procedure that takes only a few minutes to do. 

A drain hole can take one to two weeks to completely heal.  It depends on the amount of pus and the affected body part.

What is the process of removing the drain?

Before removing the drain, the doctor will ask for your consent. During this time, you can clear all your doubts related to the process.

Firstly, the concerned doctor will separate the vacuum from the drain. After this, he will remove the dressing and the stitch. You will have to take deep breaths as the doctor will carefully remove the drain now.

You will not be leaving the place open. Instead, the doctor is going to cover the area with an absorbent dressing.

Can one experience a drain site leaking after removal?

Yes, drain site leaking is a common postoperative phenomenon. Many patients experience this. It might happen if you remove the surgical drain way too early.

Upon noticing cloudy yellow or brown discharge from the site, consult your doctor. You can also fall victim to infection. To avoid any such incidents, remove the drain only when your surgeon advises you to.

How to lessen pain after JP drain removal?

Removing the JP drain from the body should not hurt in the first place. But, it might make you feel a bit weird as the tube gets out of the body.

Infection can be the cause of pain after JP drain removal. In that case, one needs to take medicines accordingly. A proper dose of antibiotics will lessen the pain.

does JP drain removal hurt
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels


Often both controversies and pieces of evidence are related to basic medical procedures. It is hard for a regular person to understand what to believe or not. The JP drain removal process is one such thing.

Does JP drain removal hurt? It completely depends on the site of the operation and its impact on the body. One may or may not feel the pain as patients have shared their mixed opinions.

But, this is an easy process that will not let you suffer for long. Continue following your doctor’s suggestion to heal fast. Once the drains are removed, you will feel okay eventually. Like every other medical procedure, this too shall ensure a better life!

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