Drainage (Medicine)

Drainage refers to the removal or emptying of fluid. This can be better explained with examples.

Abscess Drainage

Draining an abscess by cutting it open with a scalpel (open drainage) or by inserting a catheter with the aid of ultrasound or computed tomography (percutaneous drainage), especially for abdominal abscesses located deep within the body.

Closed Drainage

The technique involves placing a tube or catheter into the affected area, creating a closed system that allows the fluid to drain out without exposing air, fluids, or bacteria. The tube is connected to a collection bag or container. Closed drainage systems are commonly used after abdominal, breast, or thyroid surgery or for the treatment of intraabdominal abscesses, pleural effusions, or empyema.

Gastric Drainage or Drainage Surgery

A procedure that facilitates the emptying of the stomach. In patients with ulcers, a vagotomy is performed to reduce stomach acid by cutting the nerve that controls stomach acid production. However, this results in delayed gastric drainage in one-fifth of patients, causing them to vomit. To facilitate gastric drainage, the stomach outlet (pylorus) can be enlarged (pyloroplasty), or a small intestine can be brought up and anastomosed to the stomach (gastrojejunostomy). These procedures are known as “vagotomy+drainage” surgeries, implying that drainage is required in addition to vagotomy.

Postural Drainage

A technique used to facilitate the drainage of excess mucus or other secretions in the bronchial airways by positioning the body in specific postures. In postural drainage, gravity is utilized to move secretions toward the trachea. The back of the patient is lightly tapped while they cough. If the patient is seated, the upper bronchi are drained by tapping the back and coughing. If the patient is lying face down or head-down, the lower and back bronchi are drained.

Postural drainage is often used to treat conditions such as cystic fibrosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and bronchiectasis.

Lymphatic Drainage

When the lymphatic drainage of an organ is referred to, it usually focuses on the flow to which lymph nodes. Lymphatic drainage of an organ refers to the network of lymph vessels that carry lymphatic fluid (lymph) from the organ to the lymph nodes. In oncological (cancer) surgery, it is frequently necessary to remove the lymph nodes that drain from the affected organ, as these lymph nodes may be the first site of cancer metastasis. This is known as lymph node dissection or lymphadenectomy.

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