Trick of Trade: Incision and loop drainage using tourniquet

Jan 22, 13
Trick of Trade: Incision and loop drainage using tourniquet


The technique for abscess drainage traditionally is incision and drainage (I&D). In August 2012, I wrote about incision and loop drainage (I&LD), which it seems has gained popularity over time with similar outcomes. This technique involves using a sterile vascular loop, which is thin and long enough to form a loose knotted loop. The video below by Dr. Rob Orman reviews the steps. But, what if you don’t have a vascular loop in the ED?

Trick of Trade: Incision and Loop Drainage using Tourniquet 1

  • Use a trimmed sterile tourniquet as the loop.
  • Trim the tourniquet longitudinally.
  • This strip was long and thin enough to allow us to tie a non-tensile loop through the abscess.



Tsoraides S, Pearl R, Stanfill A, Wallace L, Vegunta R. Incision and loop drainage: a minimally invasive technique for subcutaneous abscess management in children. J Pediatr Surg. 2010;45(3):606-609. [PubMed]

Author information

Michelle Lin, MD

ALiEM Founder and CEO
Professor and Digital Innovation Lab Director
Department of Emergency Medicine
University of California, San Francisco

The post Trick of Trade: Incision and loop drainage using tourniquet appeared first on ALiEM.

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