How can I shower with these crazy things attached to me…

You need medical drains & you need to bathe

Drainage from the wound area needs to be siphoned away to prevent fluid, hematoma, and/or abscesses from forming. Mostly, the expelled fluid is a combination of mucus and small blood clots. Your surgical team will ask you to monitor the amount of fluid expelled in order to determine when it’s safe to remove drains and bulbs. But meanwhile, you will probably both want and need to take a shower…

Making it safe to shower

The discharge nurse will inform you if you’re allowed to shower with drains. In some cases, it’s suggested you take sponge baths instead. If you’re permitted to shower, always avoid placing the wound area in direct line with the shower spray. Try to limit your arm movement, keeping arms below shoulder level if possible. Gently use soap on a washcloth to remove tape residue or other applications from the surgical procedure. Finally pat your wound area with a towel – or let it air-dry.

Suspending the drain bulbs

The bulbs and drain tubes are attached with surgical sutures to your skin, so its advisable to suspend drains to avoid the pain of their tugging weight. One way is to use a lanyard, and attach bulbs to the o-ring using a safety pin. Please be careful – depending on the location of the lanyard and drains, it may irritate the wound area. A safe and painless way to secure drains is to use a drain management tool like KILI Medical Drain Carrier. It’s apron-like construction easily holds the bulbs and provides easy access when drains need to be emptied. And because it’s made of mesh material, it can be worn in the shower. More information is available here.

Be safe – ask a buddy to stand by

Remember – you may be tired from the anesthesia and the healing process. Often a patient can remain light-headed for days after the surgical procedure. It’s best to be safe and ask someone to be near the shower, just in case.


  • Wear shower slippers with grips on the bottom.
  • Always be careful going into and leaving the bathing area
  • Do not soak in a bath or use a hot tub until your incisions are completely healed.