Drain site not closing

I have recently had bowel resection surgery. The drain was in for about a week and has now been out a week but the drain site is still leaking quite a bit of fluid into the bag. Is this normal? How long do they usually take to close up. 

  • Hi BrenW

    Thanks for getting in touch.

    My name is Paula and I am one of the Cancer Information Nurse Specialists on the Macmillan Support Line.

    I can see you have joined the bowel cancer forum. I hope you’re finding it helpful to share your experiences with others.

    I am sorry to hear your drain site is still leaking after your bowel resection. I can understand your concerns and can imagine how worrying this must be for you.

    The recovery period after bowel surgery varies. The drains are put in to prevent fluid collection and to minimize post operative complications. If the fluid leaks into the abdominal cavity it can cause inflammation or an infection.

    You may find the drain site might continue to leak until the area has completely healed. In some cases, it may leak for longer depending on the size of the wound and how fast a person heals. Certain health conditions or medications may affect the healing process for some people.

    As your drain site is still leaking quite a bit, we would suggest contacting your team or GP to let them know as soon as possible. As they your drain site needs appropriate medical management and both are in an ideal position to advise, assess and manage your current symptoms.

    It’s important to look after yourself as well and make sure you eat a healthy balanced diet. This will give the body the nutrients it needs to heal. If you have any other medical conditions just check its not interfering with your healing process.

    I hope you found this information helpful. If you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to get back in touch. Sometimes giving us a call can be help. We can talk through your concerns and discuss how we can support you more.


    Paula-Cancer Information Nurse Specialist