Penrose drain
A Penrose drain is a surgical
Surgery is an ancient medical specialty that uses operative manual and instrumental techniques on a patient to investigate and/or treat a pathological condition such as disease or injury, or to help improve bodily function or appearance.An act of performing surgery may be called a surgical...

 device placed in a wound
A wound is a type of injury in which skin is torn, cut or punctured , or where blunt force trauma causes a contusion . In pathology, it specifically refers to a sharp injury which damages the dermis of the skin.-Open:...

 to drain fluid. It consists of a soft rubber tube placed in a wound area, to prevent the build up of fluid.

It is named for the American gynecologist Charles Bingham Penrose (1862–1925)

Common uses

A Penrose drain removes fluid from a wound area. Frequently it is put in place by a surgeon after a procedure is complete to prevent the area from accumulating fluid, such as blood, which could serve as a medium for bacteria
Bacteria are a large domain of prokaryotic microorganisms. Typically a few micrometres in length, bacteria have a wide range of shapes, ranging from spheres to rods and spirals...

 to grow in.

In Podiatry
Podiatry is a branch of medicine devoted to the study, diagnosis, and treatment of disorders of the foot, ankle, and lower leg. The term podiatry came into use first in the early 20th century United States, where it now denotes a Doctor of Podiatric Medicine , a specialist who is qualified by their...

, a Penrose drain is often used as a tourniquet
An emergency tourniquet is a tightly tied band applied around a body part sometimes used in an attempt to stop severe traumatic bleeding. Tourniquets are also used during venipuncture and other medical procedures. Severe bleeding means the loss of more than 1,000 ml of blood. This flow of blood...

 during a hallux
In tetrapods, the hallux is the innermost toe of the foot. Despite its name it may not be the longest toe on the foot of some individuals...

 nail avulsion procedure or ingrown toenail extraction.

It can also be used to drain cerebrospinal fluid
Cerebrospinal fluid
Cerebrospinal fluid , Liquor cerebrospinalis, is a clear, colorless, bodily fluid, that occupies the subarachnoid space and the ventricular system around and inside the brain and spinal cord...

 to treat a hydrocephalus
Hydrocephalus , also known as "water in the brain," is a medical condition in which there is an abnormal accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid in the ventricles, or cavities, of the brain. This may cause increased intracranial pressure inside the skull and progressive enlargement of the head,...


Fluid does not flow within the lumen of the tube but travels around the outside by capillary action. Hence, drainage is relative to the external surface area of the tube.
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