Third time lucky– right?? (bile drain)

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    My husband Tom has had an external drain tube with a bag since Dec ’09. He too has some leakage around the site where the drain tube enters the body. I clean it daily and wash it with antiseptic and rebandage it. I also have to flush the tube daily and when I do that, the bandage instantly gets soaked with a mixture of bile and saline soultion. Therefore I flush the tube, then change the bandage.

    With Tom they had to modify the tube (be drilling extra holes in the part of the drain tube that is inside his liver. The modified tube works well for him. A few weeks back, Mayo Clinic did a tube exchange and did not modify the tube and within 2 weeks, his bile was thick and sludgy and putrid smelling. The doc in Green Bay, exchanged the tube for a modified one and since then no issues.

    Are your doctors having you flush the drain tube? If so, ask they why not. The flushing helps keeps the drain holes in the tube open. Be diligent about changing the bandage when you notice that it has started turning color from the bile. You don’t want to leave the bile on the skin. Tom had two external drain tubes initially for 7 1/2 months and now with this new drain tube he’s had it 5 months and to date because of being diligent about changing the bandage he has not had any problems with his skin breaking down. Another thing is that if there is a lot of leakage of the bile around the insertion hole, they may have to go with a larger drain tube (that is what they had to do with Tom when his started leaking a lot around the drain)

    Good luck! Feel free to ask me any questions on the external drain tube and bag – I have lots of knowledge since I have been caring for Toms for over a year now!

    Go with God and KEEP KICKIN’ THAT cancer.



    I will bring homemade cookies to the pity party because if I was near you I would give you a big hug and then go on a good rant about how I hate external drains. I think you would have to tape my mouth closed if you wanted to add anything to the complaining about them.

    Mine leaked and moved and caused pain. Be careful about not letting the bile soaked bandage stay too long on your skin because it can cause irritation (OUCH!).

    How good is your insurance? If it is good, I think I would consider it an emergency. Who wants an infection or to be uncomfortable? You have a life to live! If it is just inconvenient that is one thing, but given you had an infection before, I would stick to caution.

    Hugs my friend.


    Sorry, Kristin, but pity parties are allowed so have a good one as you only have 1 day left to go. I am curious as to what this doc tells you. Hang in.


    Kristin….I so much understand you feelings of bummed. Seems that when things go wrong it always is more of a bother when it happens on a weekend. Are you changing the gauze frequently?
    I am thinking of you and sending good vibes your way,



    Sorry that things aren’t going well. I was hoping that the 3rd time would be the charm. Thinking of you and hoping you are OK. You deserve the “pity party” if it’s what you need right now. Keep us updated as to how you are doing.



    Unfortunately, it is starting to soak the gauze. And it’s Saturday evening. I know this doesn’t count as an emergency, but I am so BUMMED to be sitting through yet another weekend with something going wrong :(

    (pardon the pity-party…)

    I guess I’ll have to call them first thing Monday.

    Thanks for all the help and support!



    Hi Kristin,

    Sorry to hear that your drain is leaking but you’re not jinxed! Have you spoke to the doctor today to see what they think you can do for this?

    Best wishes,



    Kristin….absolutely not, you are not jinxed. The search function reveals many postings re: leakage of drains caused by shifting, etc. It appears as if drains can have a mind of their own.
    Have a great weekend. I am glad that you have the third drain procedure behind you.
    Hugs coming your way,


    Hi Kristin,

    Dad had some leakage around the drain a couple of times, but it was never too much, and always stopped. Be sure to keep it very clean to keep it from getting infected, and like Lainy said, maybe give another call in to the doctor to ask about it. I’m sorry it didn’t go perfectly, but maybe this is just something small and is common? Hopefully once you get the internal drain put in you will have some relief!

    Good luck – keep us posted! Thinking about you!



    Kristin, I wish I could help but Teddy never had a a problem with the drains.
    Guess I would put in a call to your doctor, someone will be on staff, and ask what to do. Is it a lot leaking on to the bandage? My second thought would be, get some gauze and tape it around the site to catch the bile. Good luck.


    Well, yesterday I went to a different doctor and a different hospital and got my third external drain in three weeks put in. The first two went badly wrong in very gross ways– #1 got horribly infected with icky mucus, and #2 moved out of place and ended up draining huge amounts of bile out my side for a week before I could get it changed.

    #3 feels a lot more comfortable and is filling up the bag at a rapid clip. But I’m a little worried because here it is, the weekend again, and there’s bile draining into the bandage. Please, someone tell me I’m not under a jinx!! Has anyone had any success with these things? They said they would make it internal in 6 weeks.



Viewing 11 posts - 16 through 26 (of 26 total)
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