HF 6574

Tube or Drain Removal in Interventional Radiology

This handout was prepared to answer some of the common questions patients have after having a tube or drain removed in the Interventional Radiology Clinic. If you have more questions or concerns, please ask the doctor or nurse caring for you. 

Your Care at Home

You may eat or drink what you want at home except drinks with alcohol. Do not drink alcohol, do strenuous activities or lift more than 10 pounds for 24 hours. You can resume your normal routine after 24 hours.

Remove the dressing over the site the next morning. You do not need to put on a new dressing if the drainage has stopped.

If You Had Sedation

An adult must take you home after your sedation. You cannot leave alone or drive yourself home. Side effects are few, but you may feel drowsy the rest of the day. You shouldn’t return to work or be left alone.

For the first 12 hours:

  • Do not drive a car or use machinery.

  • Do not drink alcohol.

  • Do not make important decisions or sign legal documents.

  • Avoid activities like swimming, biking, etc.

Site Drainage

If the site keeps draining, you should apply a new dressing each day using tape and gauze. You may need to change it more often if you have a lot of drainage. You can stop using the dressings and leave site open to air once all drainage has stopped for 24 hours.

Drainage Bag

If you are sent home with drainage bag over the site you may remove bag once drainage has stopped. This is often in 1-3 days. Once the bag is removed, apply dressing using gauze and Tegaderm. Change this dressing daily until site stops draining. Change dressing more often if it becomes soiled. You may stop using the dressings and leave site open to air once drainage has stopped for 24 hours.


You may shower 24 hours after your drain has been removed if you don’t have a drainage bag. You may resume baths or hot tubs 3 days after all drainage has stopped.

When to Call

  • If you have more than a teaspoon of bleeding at the site.

  • If you are dizzy, feel faint or light-headed.

  • If your pain around the site gets worse 2-3 days after the drain is removed.

  • Drainage for more than 3 days.

  • If you feel sick, check for a fever. If you have a fever over 100.4° F (38° C), please call your primary doctor.

  • If you have any questions or concerns.

Who to Call

Radiology Department

8:00 am to 4:30 pm
(608) 263-9729 prompt #3

After hours this number will be answered by the paging operator. Ask for the interventional radiology resident on call. Leave your name and phone number with the area code. The doctor will call you back.

The toll free number is: 1-800-323-8942.