Closed suction drain with bulb

Alternative Names

Bulb drain; Jackson-Pratt drain; JP drain; Blake drain; Wound drain; Surgical drain

Why you Need This

A closed suction drain is used to remove fluids that build up in areas of your body after surgery or when you have an infection. Although there is more than one brand of closed suction drains, this drain is often called a Jackson Pratt, or JP, drain.

The drain is made up of 2 parts:

One end of the rubber tube is placed in the area of your body where fluid may build up. The other end comes out through a small incision (cut). A squeeze bulb is attached to this outer end.

Ask your health care provider when you may take a shower while you have this drain. You may be asked to take a sponge bath until the drain is removed.

There are many ways to wear the drain depending on where the drain comes out of your body.

Emptying Your Drain

Items you will need are:

Empty the drain before it gets full. You may need to empty your drain every few hours at first. As the amount of drainage decreases, you may be able to empty it once or twice a day:

Write down the amount of fluid you drained out and the date and time each time you empty your JP drain.

Changing Your Dressing

You might have a dressing around the drain where it comes out of your body. If you do not have a dressing, keep the skin around the drain clean and dry. If you are allowed to shower, clean the area with soapy water and pat it dry with a towel. If you are not allowed to shower, clean the area with a washcloth, cotton swabs, or gauze.

If you do have a dressing around the drain, you will need the following items:

To change your dressing:

Clogged Drain

If there is no fluid draining into the bulb, there may be a clot or other material blocking the fluid. If you notice this:

When to Call the Doctor

Call your doctor if:


Lynn PB. Caring for a Jackson-Pratt drain. In: Lynn PB, ed. Taylor's Handbook of Clinical Nursing Skills. 2nd ed. Baltimore, MD: Wolters Kluwers; 2014:chap 50.

Review Date: 2/27/2016
Reviewed By: Debra G. Wechter, MD, FACS, general surgery practice specializing in breast cancer, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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