Percutaneous Drainage Catheters Procedure

About the Percutaneous Drainage Catheters Procedure

A drainage catheter is a thin tube that is inserted through the skin into an area where unwanted fluid has accumulated. The catheter enables the fluid to drain to drainage bag. Also known as pigtails, these catheters can be inserted into most any area of the body.

How to Prepare for Your Drainage Catheter Procedure:

As an outpatient:

  • Do not eat or drink for six hours before your procedure
  • Arrive one hour before your schedule appointment, and report to Ambulatory Care Registration with the appropriate paperwork from your physician
  • Proceed to the Short Term Care Unit, located on the fifth floor in the Ackerman Building
  • Bring a family member or friend with you, as you will need a ride home

If you are a patient in the hospital:

  • Your nurse can explain the procedure to you
  • You will be instructed not to eat for six hours prior to the exam

During Your Drainage Catheter Procedure:
An intravenous line will be inserted for antibiotics and mild sedation during your procedure, and your skin will be numbed with a medicine called Lidocaine. Using the guidance of a CT scan or ultrasound, a small nick is then made in the skin using a small needle. A wire is passed through this needle and into the catheter. The radiology nurse will help keep you comfortable.

After Your Drainage Catheter Procedure:
Initially, you will have some soreness and discomfort which might limit your activities. Tylenol or Advil will be recommended for mild discomfort. Some patients may be prescribed an antibiotic.

The proper positioning of the drainage catheter will be explained by the radiology nurse. You and a family member will receive instructions and written information on caring for the catheter at home.

Call the Interventional Radiologist at 732-776-4121 if:

  • Your catheter becomes dislodged or broken
  • You have stitches and they become loose
  • Your catheter leaks
  • Your skin looks reddened and sore, and does not improve in 48 hours
  • Your catheter has stopped draining

Potential Complications:
An infection can occur if the catheter gets blocked. If your catheter becomes blocked despite good care, the interventional radiologist can change the catheter and prescribe antibiotics.

To prevent infection, take good care of the skin around the catheter. The skin must be kept dry. If the dressing gets wet, it must be changed. In addition, be sure to properly secure the catheter to your skin or clothing to prevent it from becoming dislodged.

Care Locations

  • Jersey Shore University Medical Center, 1945 Route 33, Neptune, NJ 07753

Find a Physician

Looking for a physician in your area? By using our Physician Directory, you can search for a New Jersey physician by specialty, facility, town, and zip code right now.

For more information on any physician, call 1-800-DOCTORS or 1-800-560-9990.

Health Information