Redivac drain bottles.

Your juices in a bag. Ok, bottle.

After groin surgery, you get a surgical drain bottle or Redivac, to lug around with you for a few weeks.

This is a bit of a culture shock. I was given a pint sized bottle on a long piece of pipe. This is embedded deep inside you, and does the job of the lymph nodes that have been removed. It sucks all kinds of things out too! I usually had them for 4 to 6 weeks while my body found new routes to push the lymph around.

They are really easy to use and look after. (you get plenty of training) Sometimes, mine would produce 300ml of fluid every day.  It’s pretty disgusting seeing what’s getting produced, but as the days go by you produce less and less. Once you’re producing a minimal amount, like 10ml or 20ml a day, they get removed.  It’s important never to rush this part, or risk almost certain complications later!

You can see it hanging out of you.

The drainpipe goes through your torso in line with your belly button and all the way through to the middle of your thigh. The vacuum created inside the bottle sucks everything away.  The bottle is small enough to put in an inside jacket pocket or hanging off your trousers. I even went for a little run when I had mine.

They’re pretty manageable, and they are in a really long way.  It’s incredibly unlikely that the pipe will fall out, and it’s held in with a few stitches. When it’s time to remove them, they absolutely stink but the little hole seals up in no time.


When I managed to get myself an infection, the fluid in the drain bottle turned cloudy and you could immediately see that something wasn’t right!  Once I was on the mend, the fluid in the bottle went bright green at one point before going back to the normal reddish pink and translucent. It’s a real window on the world of what happens inside your body!

One unusual issue I had was my lymphatic fluid leaking out of the wound in my groin every time the bottle got blocked, and I’m pretty sure that contributed to me ending up in the hospital with sepsis, so if anything doesn’t feel right, or your dressings are wet – call the doctor!