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Different Types of Abnormal Wound Drainage

You or someone you love has recently had surgery. If so, you might be worried about how to care for the incision site, what it looks and whether it is healing properly. The ability to drain a surgical wound from the skin can reveal a lot about how well it is healing.

Clear drainage or slightly yellowed or pink indicates that you have normal drainage after surgery. You can find out more about drainage after surgery at

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But if you have abnormal drainage, this indicates that there may be a problem with how a surgical wound is healing and can help you know if you should get it checked by a physician. Here are some different types of abnormal drainage:

Bloody Drainage

Sanguineous drainage is abnormal wound drainage that typically has a thick amount of blood present in it. This bloody drainage is not typical of a healing wound. It may indicate that the wound hasn't been treated gently enough during incision care, you've been too active too quickly after surgery, or another type of stress is affecting the incision site.

Report this type of drainage to your surgeon or another healthcare provider.

Mostly or All Blood

Hemorrhage is the term for severe bleeding from a wound. It can be life-threatening, depending on the amount of blood loss, how difficult the bleeding is to control, how long the bleeding goes unchecked, and other injuries.

The term hemorrhage refers specifically to blood being lost at a rapid rate. Medical attention is an absolute necessity for treating hemorrhages1 and may include blood transfusions and intravenous (IV) fluids. In terms of drainage, hemorrhage is pure blood or nearly all blood. Seek treatment immediately.