Postoperative autotransfusion is performed by connecting the surgeon’s suction tube to a sterile wound drain that is left inside the surgical site to salvage any post-operative bleeding.
Examples of surgeries that benefit from postoperative autotransfusion are total knee and total hip replacements.
Postoperative autotransfusion begins in the operating room when the drain line is placed and the surgical site is closed. Autotransfusion is continued and is effective while the patient actively bleeds during the postoperative recovery phase. Autotransfusion is ended when bleeding has stopped.
Postoperative autotransfusion is then discontinued by connecting an ordinary self-draining device to the drain line(s).