Had JP drain fracture on one week removal. Dr was unable to remove the 3 cm part under skin. Is this safe?

Dr thought he may have nadvertently sutured drain under wound. Was unable to pull it out. Numbed up area, scrubbed and tried to tug more firmly. The drain tube popped off and came out but not the approximately 3cm inside portion. He tried using clamp or forceps but could not get it to tug free. He says to leave for 2-3 months then go back and remove. Is this safe?

Doctor Answers 7

Broken drain

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you didn't mention what procedure you had done, and, while the drain should be removed at some point, I don't think it is overly dangerous. Check with you physician or resubmit with a bit more info. Good luck.

R Mandraccia MD

Ft Myers Fl and Oklahoma City, OK

Fort Myers Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

Broken Drain

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Sorry this happened to you.  The piece of drain should be removed.  I would recommend that it be removed sooner rather than later, due to the chance of infection.  But, your PS knows the situation the best, and he/she should be competent to help you determine the best timing for removal.  Best of luck!

Jonathan Heistein, MD
Fort Worth Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

JP Drain

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Usually it is better to remove it sooner than later. The risk of infection goes up with time.  Best of luck.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 30 reviews


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It is safe to have a small fragment of the silicon drain under the skin. The main risk will be an infection on the place of the drain, but this will extremely rare. And it is better to wait for the swelling and inflammation to go away, and it will be much easier to remove the drain.

Can be removed later but what is the reason for waiting?

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This is unusual but could happen and unfortunately happened to you. You can wait to remove it later, but I would think it is easier now than few months later. The risk infection is low but I am concerned that scar will make it harder after few months. 

Kamran Khoobehi, MD
New Orleans Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 152 reviews

Retained JP drain

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Generally speaking, a retained foreign body, like a JP drain, should be removed relatively soon.  The JP drain is considered contaminated because it was in communication with the outside world.  Because it is contaminated, it has the possibility of giving rise to infection. 

This is not an emergency, but  most surgeons would remove the retained drain sooner than 2 to 3 months. There may be a specific reason in your circumstance that it is appropriate to wait that long, so it is probably worth discussing this with your surgeon. I hope this helps. Best wishes.

Michael S. Hopkins, MD (retired)
Albuquerque Plastic Surgeon

Drain stuck inside.

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Well, clearly this situation isn't ideal.  If the drain remains inside, it is at risk for infection.  It is likely sterile, but is not meant to be left in the wound long term.  

You will likely not suffer any major adverse consequences if the drain doesn't get infected, but why risk it?  I may be overlooking something, but what is the advantage of removing the drain in a few months as opposed to removing it now?  I suppose your doctor may be waiting for the absorbable sutures holding the drain in place to "absorb" and free up the drain, but the timetable on that is uncertain.  

If you were my patient, we would be returning to the operating room to remove the drain, but I can't say for sure that his method is unsafe.  I would certainly recommend watching closely for any signs of redness, drainage from the area, or fevers that may indicate an infection of the leftover piece.  Best of luck!

Dr. Jespersen

M. Renee Jespersen, MD
Fairfax Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.