Recovering from Cleft Lift Surgery: Drain Removal Video

If you are recovering from Pilonidal surgery performed by Dr. Jeffrey Sternberg at The Sternberg Clinic in San Francisco, but are no longer in the Bay Area after the 10-days of post-operation recovery, this video describes how to remove the drain to complete the healing process.

This is a simple and quick task but it must be done properly to prevent any complications with the healing wound. If you have any questions or need more guidance before removing the drain strip, please contact Dr. Sternberg and his office staff immediately.

Dr. Jeffrey Sternberg

Video: How to drain the wound

Looking for instructions on how to drain the wound at home during your 8-day postoperative recovery? Watch a short video tutorial.

Drain Removal Video Full Transcript

How do I remove the drain?  I know that Dr. Sternberg went over it with me in SF but it’s all a blur…….

The drain is typically removed 8 days after surgery. So, if your surgery was on a Wednesday, it would be removed the following Thursday. If it was on a Monday, it would be removed on the following Tuesday. Please call and speak with Dr. Sternberg prior to drain removal so we can sure that your recovery is as expected. Try to call sometime in the late morning California time. 

Here’s how it should be done.  To set expectations, it takes around 2 seconds.  No kidding.

So, with the patient line on her or his stomach, the drain helper should make sure by rotating the drain that all 4 silk sutures are outside. Remember, the drain is just a circular loop tied to itself. So, if it is cut the portion underneath the flap will quickly slide out of one of the holes. It is very important that you don’t try and pull the portion of the drain that’s tied to itself with the silk sutures under the flat and through the lower hole. That will result in the drain breaking and will require a trip back to San Francisco for Dr. Sternberg to remove it.  Not the sort of trip you want to have to make 

Now, gently lift up on the part of the drain tied to itself with the silk sutures to place a slight degree of traction on the stretchy drain.  Cut the portion of the drain above the highest silk suture close to the top drain hole. The drain should quickly and simply slide out from the bottom hole. Congrats!! Mission Accomplished!!

You may see some fluid leakage from the top hole, and this is completely normal.  now gently peel the steri-strips off the wound (they will take months to fall off so please don’t leave them on). You will need to keep the top hole covered with folded gauze for maybe four or five days. You’ll probably have to change the gauze a few times a day. It does not need to be covered during showering.  The goal now is to allow that top hole to scab over and seal.  Once the top hole is scabbed over and there is no more drainage there’s no need to cover it or you may do so with a band aid just for safety. The bottom drain hole is quite small, and fluid will generally not leak from that. Once drainage has stopped from the top hole, there may be some swelling under the flap, and this is normal. That is fluid accumulating under the flap. The body will resorb this fluid overtime and the swelling will resolve, so don’t worry.  Also, don’t worry about any irregularities in the wound or asymmetry as over the next several months the body usually works all that out and things look symmetrical again (at least by month 6).

Now that the drain is out the patient can begin to exercise with the following caveats. No deep squats for a month, no submerging underwater such as in a hot tub bathtub or swimming, and no contact sports or sports where one may fall on their backside such as snowboarding or skateboarding. Biking may be difficult for the next few weeks and many patients prefer to use a standing desk for work during the early recovery.  

Dr. Sternberg would like you to call him one month after drain removal so it could be certain that all as well. Best of luck on your journey following Cleft Lift surgery!

Meet Your Surgeon, Dr. Jeffrey Sternberg

After many years performing major abdominal operations including open and laparoscopic resections for colon cancer, rectal cancer, Crohn’s disease, and Ulcerative colitis, I have chosen to concentrate my efforts in a few highly specialized areas of surgery where I feel I can make the greatest positive impact on patients.

More on my Training and Experience

Contact our San Francisco Office

To learn more about treating your Pilonidal Disease with surgery and the Cleft Lift procedure, contact our office staff for information or to schedule an appointment.

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Weekends: Closed

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American College of Surgeons, and Pilonidal Support Alliance