Taking Care of the Drain

This is what a typical wound looks like after the cleft lift procedure.

A drain is placed at the time of surgery. The drain looks like a rubber band and goes from the lower portion of the incision to a hole near the top of the flap. The drain is a continuous loop and can be rotated slightly if needed. The flap consists of skin that has been freed off the underlying tissue and drawn across the middle of the cleft and around the anus.

Because the flap has been elevated and then place back down, fluid may accumulate under the flap. Since an abscess was present at the time of surgery this fluid could become infected.

So it’s essential, that there is a drain wick away fluid from under the flap. This will allow the flap to eventually stick to the underlying tissue.

Three times a day for the period of time that you have a drain please have your helper roll gauze to push fluid out through the top hole in the following manner.

Start by placing some gauze above the incision and rolling one or two pieces of gauze into a tight rolling pin type of configuration. Then roll from the lower portion of the flap towards the upper portion of the flap. You can also use your fingers or knuckles to push on the flap to try and express fluid from the upper hole.

Don’t be concerned if fluid comes directly through the top portion of the incision.

Roll and push approximately eight times until very little fluid comes out.


This procedure is best done with the patient lying on a flat firm surface such as the floor or a mattress. It’s very difficult to do if the patient is standing up. Pressure should be firm as if you’re kneading dough. It may cause some discomfort but it should not be extremely painful.

If you feel that fluid is accumulating and is not draining out the upper whole, a non-sterile Q-tip can be used to gently dilate the upper drain hole. Alternatively call the office and I can do this.

Best of luck with your drain care.

Pilonidal Surgery

This website should help you with this important decision: what is the best surgical option for...

1) primary disease with multiple,
2) primary disease with large pits,
3) persistent or recurrent disease,
4) an unhealed wound after one or several pilonidal surgeries

To schedule an appointment please call or email Jan at 415-668-0416 jdeboer@sfsurgery.com

Dr. Jeffrey Sternberg

Dr Jeffrey Sternberg is a leading Colon and Rectal surgeon.Dr. Sternberg is active in the national leadership of the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons and has been elected President of the Northern California Chapter of the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgery. Extending his commitment to the care of patients with Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Dr. Sternberg serves on the Board of Directors of the Northern California Chapter of the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America.

Surgical Director, Center For Inflammatory Diseases
California Pacific Medical Center

Clinical Assistant Professor of Surgery
University of California San Francisco

Contact Dr. Sternberg through
San Francisco Surgical Medical Group.

Chrohns & Colitis Foundation

American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons