Surgical Incision Drainage – When to be Worried

surgery incision drainage

Surgical Incision Drainage – When to be Worried

In a recent patient education article we talked about some best practices for taking care of your surgical incisions post-operatively. But sometimes, despite your best efforts, your incision may begin to leak or drain. This scares a lot of patients. In this article, we will discuss what to do if your surgical incision begins to drain or secrete fluid while you recover.

Incision Drainage Issues

In the days and weeks after surgery your body needs time to repair the incision. During this time, the incision will likely become inflamed and there may be some drainage. A mild amount of drainage from the incision is normal. If the drainage fluid is thin, watery, and pinkish red, there is likely nothing to be concerned about. However, there are instances in which you should be concerned about drainage from your incision.

When to Be Concerned

There are certain incision drainage situations that should raise alarm bells. If you notice any of the following after surgery, contact your surgeon right away:

  • Excessive bleeding from the incision that doesn’t resolve.
  • Foul smelling fluid coming from the incision.
  • Thick, green, yellowish fluid coming from the incision.

These factors may indicate infection or another serious issue related to the surgery or your incision. Contact your doctor immediately if you see any of these while you recover.

Inspired Spine has developed minimally invasive spinal procedures that are taking the industry by storm. Our procedures have been backed by studies that show reduced patient pain after surgery, and some of the fastest recovery times of any spine surgery. Most importantly as it relates to this topic, Inspired Spine procedures allow the surgeon to make significantly smaller incisions compared to other procedures. That means less risk of developing an infection or other issue with your incision. Contact us today to learn more about Inspired Spine procedures for the cervical spine and thoracic spine. You can also find a surgeon near you who performs these procedures by using our search tool on this site.



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