What is the role of a permanent indwelling urethral catheter in the treatment of BPH

Some patients with prostatic obstruction and a weak bladder will not be able to void, regardless of what type of surgical intervention is employed. Some of these patients elect to be managed with an indwelling urethral catheter. The main drawback to an indwelling catheter is infection and irritation. In addition, sometimes the catheter can become plugged with blood or debris and needs to be changed emergently. Most patients with an indwelling urethral catheter have it changed by a visiting nurse at home or in the emergency room or their doctor's office at 1- to 2-month intervals.

An alternative to an indwelling urethral catheter is a suprapubic tube. A suprapubic tube can be placed percu-taneously into the bladder through the lower abdominal wall. Many patients find a suprapubic tube more comfortable and easier to manage than a urethral catheter. Either the suprapubic tube or urethral catheter is connected to a drainage bag, which can be worn on the leg or hung on the side of a bed. A suprapubic tube is typically changed by a nurse or physician as is the urethral catheter every 1 to 2 months.

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