Survac Drain

Your surgeon has placed a drain tube/s into your surgical site to prevent the collection of fluid and assist in healing your surgical wound. The drain tube/s will be removed once the drainage has eased (usually less than 50mls in 24hours).

This instruction booklet is designed to assist you with managing your drain tube/s at home. Your nurse will read through this with you prior to your discharge from hospital to make sure you have a good understanding of how to manage your drain tube/s and suction drainage bottle. Do not hesitate to ask questions if you are unsure. Your nurse will also provide you with equipment to care for your drain.


Discharge Equipment

  • Drainage bottles x2
  • Non-sterile gloves x8
  • Tape (for the side of the bottle) x1 roll
  • Plastic bag for disposing of full bottles
  • Information Booklet (Caring for your Drain Tube at Home’ and Daily Drainage Chart
  • Follow up appointment with your surgeon    
  • Pain management plan discussed with your nurse


Know your Suction Drainage Bottle

The bottle is clear plastic with measuring marks along one side. Tape is placed beside the measuring marks to assist in monitoring drainage.

At the top of the bottle is a green concertina gauge which indicates the level of suction in the bottle. The best suction is indicated when the gauge is small and tight. When suction is decreasing the gauge will ‘pop up’ or become tall.

Suction drainage bottle

The drain tube is connected securely into the top of the bottle. There are 2 clamps on the tube which are used when the drainage bottle is changed.


Measuring Drainage

Every 24 hours at the same time of day, the amount of drainage fluid in the bottle is measured and recorded. Place the bottle on a flat surface and mark the level of the fluid on the piece of tape on the side of the bottle. Please note the volume, colour and any changes in drainage (i.e. increase in drainage, change in colour) on the Daily Drainage Chart (last page).

Changing the Drainage Bottle

Please note, only change the drainage bottle:

  • If it loses suction (green concertina gauge stands tall)
  • Drainage bottle is ½ - ¾ full


1. Prepare equipment

Changing drainage bottle - prepare the equipment

Find a clean and clear work surface and have new bottle, gloves and plastic bag for rubbish disposal within easy reach.

2. Wash your hands

Wash well with soap and warm water and dry. Thoroughly with a clean towel. Use the gloves provided to keep your hands clean (they are not sterile).

3. Remove drainage bottle from packaging

Changing drainage bottle - remove from packaging

The clamps on the new bottle will be closed and the bottle’s green gauge indicating full suction. Close both clamps on the old suction bottle. One clamp is on the top of the bottle and the other is on the tubing.


4. Change the old bottle with the new bottle

New bottle: Remove tubing from new suction bottle. This may feel a bit tight so a bit of force may be needed. Stand the bottle safely on a flat surface within easy reach.

Used bottle: Gently pull tubing from used suction bottle. This can also be tight so you may need to use a bit of force. Sometimes a gentle twist to the tubing can help.

Continue to hold the tubing in one hand and pick up the new bottle with the other. Hold the new bottle by the green rubber connector – underneath the closed white clamp. Try not to touch the very end of the tubing or green connector.

Changing drainage tube - hold the tubing

Push the tubing into the end of the green rubber connector until it is firmly attached. Once the tubing is tightly connected to the new bottle, release the clamp on the tubing and the bottle’s green rubber connector. The concertina gauge should stay small and tight (indicating good suction).

Changing drainage bottle  - push the tubing into the end


5. Dispose of used suction bottle

Place in 2 plastic bags and tie off the top of both. Dispose in normal household garbage. Remove gloves and wash hands thoroughly.


Drain Tube insertion Site Observations

  • It is important to check the dressing at your drain tube insertion site.
  • Ensure the dressing is clean, dry and secure.
  • Monitor your drain tube insertion site for signs of infection. These may include:
    • Redness
    • Pain
    • Swelling
    • Fever
    • Unpleasant smell (odour)

If you experience any of the following problems and who to contact

Problem: Fluid is leaking from around the drain tube site or the drain becomes insecure.
What to do: Place a clean hygienic pad over the area and use tape to secure

Problem: The new bottle also loses suction and you have no more replacement bottles
What to do: The drain tube can still gravity drain. Keep bottle below wound level.

Problem: Increased unexpected pain, heat or swelling 
What to do: Contact Melbourne Breast Unit or Epworth Cliveden immediately

Problem: Drainage suddenly becomes bright red
What to do: Contact Melbourne Breast Unit or Epworth Cliveden immediately

Problem: A large increase in drainage fluid (more than 150mls in 24hours)
What to do: Contact Melbourne Breast Unit or Epworth Cliveden immediately

Our contact details are as follow

Business Hours: Monday to Friday 8:30 am to 5 pm. Please phone Melbourne Breast Unit and speak to the Breast Care Nurse at 03 9419 1166.
After Hours and Weekends: Please phone Nurse in Charge, Epworth Cliveden at 03 9479 7122.


Daily Drainage Chart

  • Place drainage bottle on a flat surface to measure
  • Measure the amount of drainage every 24 hours at the same time.
  • Mark the tape on the bottle with the date and time next to it.
  • Please write down the amount of drainage each day and bring this with you to your surgeon’s post-op review appointment.
  •  Please bring any unused equipment when you attend this appointment.
Date Time Drainage Amount Comments
(e.g.) 1/1/11 8am 600mls Straw coloured fluid


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