Understanding a Suprapubic Catheter

A Suprapubic Tube or Catheter (SPC) is used to drain the bladder if you cannot urinate on your own or if your doctor wants the bladder heal from previous surgery or trauma. It is different from other urinary catheters because it does not go in the urethra; instead, it is inserted through your lower abdominal wall directly into the bladder.

Suprapubic Catheter Candidates:

Reasons to use a Suprapubic Catheter vary from patient to patient, but often those who are potential candidates suffer from one or several of the following conditions:

  • The inability to urinate on your own
  • Incontinence
  • A prolapsed uterus or another organ
  • Bladder cancer
  • Prostatic enlargement
  • Spinal injury or paralysis
  • Trauma
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Parkinson’s disease

Advantages of a Suprapubic Catheter:

Patients that benefit from using a Suprapubic Catheter often report the following benefits, including:

  • Being less likely to get an infection
  • Lowered risk of damage to the urethra if prolonged catheter use is needed
  • A desire to have sexual relations even though a catheter is necessary

Suprapubic Catheter Procedure:

The procedure is relatively quick and easy. The surgeon cleans the skin over the bladder region close to the pubic bone and numbs the area with an injection of medication. A metal device will guide the catheter into the bladder and will be removed after the balloon that holds the bladder in place, is inflated. Stitches are then put in place to close the skin incision. In some cases, an ultrasound may be used to guide the placement of the catheter. The catheter is attached to a bag that holds the urine. You will either manually empty the bag, or it will have a valve to drain the urine directly into the toilet.

If you have any questions regarding suprapubic catheters, our team of professionals are available to answer any questions to help you make an informed decision. We at Western Michigan Urological Associates want to work with you to find the best option for you and your family. Ask Your Primary Care Provider for a Referral.