How to Use Povidone-Iodine to Manage a Lymphocele

This information explains how to use a povidone-iodine solution (such as Betadine®) to manage a lymphocele (a collection of fluid in your body).

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About Lymphoceles

After your procedure, you may have a lymphocele in your body. A lymphocele is a collection of fluid that may form in a space in your body after a procedure. Your healthcare provider will drain the space with a catheter (a flexible tube) to remove the fluid. If the collection continues to drain, your healthcare provider may recommend you use a povidone-iodine solution to stop the drainage.

Povidone-iodine solution is a liquid usually used to clean a person’s skin before a procedure. Flushing the area with povidone-iodine solution will help seal the walls of the area so that fluid no longer fills the space. This is called sclerosis.

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How to Flush Your Lymphocele with Povidone-Iodine

Follow these steps to use the povidone-iodine solution to manage your lymphocele. Follow your healthcare provider’s instructions for how often to do this.

  1. Gather the supplies your nurse gave you on a clean surface. You’ll need:
    • 1 (5 mL) syringe
    • A bottle of povidone-iodine solution (such as Betadine®)
    • The container your nurse gave you
    • 2 alcohol wipes
  2. Wash your hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  3. Pour povidone-iodine solution into the container. Follow your healthcare provider’s instructions for how much povidone-iodine solution to use.
  4. Place the tip of the syringe into the container and pull the plunger to fill the syringe with the amount of povidone-iodine solution your healthcare provider recommended.
  5. Place the syringe down on the table. Make sure the tip of the syringe doesn’t touch anything.
  6. Sit or lie comfortably. Turn the stopcock toward the drainage bag.
  7. Rub the needleless connector on the stopcock with an alcohol wipe for 15 to 30 seconds.
  8. Place the syringe onto the needleless connector.
  9. Hold the connector while you push and turn the syringe clockwise (to the right) to lock it into position.
  10. Push the plunger of the syringe to push the povidone-iodine solution into your catheter. Never pull back on the plunger. Always push forward.
    • If you have any of the following while flushing, don’t try to put in any more povidone-iodine into your catheter. Stop and call your healthcare provider’s office if you:
      • Feel pain
      • Have trouble pushing the povidone-iodine solution into the catheter
      • See leaking around the catheter
  11. When the syringe is empty, turn it counterclockwise (to the left) and remove it. Throw the syringe away in your regular trash.
  12. Leave the stopcock turned towards the drainage bag for 1 to 2 hours to allow the povidone-iodine to work.
  13. After 1 to 2 hours, turn the stopcock back to the direction of the needleless connector. You’ll see fluid drain into the bag.
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