A suprapubic tube, also called a suprapubic catheter, is a medical device used to help drain urine from the bladder. It's a thin and flexible tube that goes through the belly, below the belly button, right into the bladder. Instead of going through the regular way (the urethra), this tube provides an alternative route for urine to come out. Doctors or nurses usually put in the suprapubic tube when someone has trouble emptying their bladder naturally. Some reasons for needing this tube include problems like the bladder not being able to empty properly due to blockages or nerve issues, or when someone has a tough time controlling their urine (incontinence). It can also be used after certain surgeries or injuries to let the bladder heal without putting pressure on the usual way of releasing urine. The good thing about a suprapubic tube is that it can be more comfortable for the patient. Once the tube is in place, it's connected to a bag that collects the urine. Taking care of it properly and staying clean are important to improve comfort and make sure it works well. The page will give instructions on how to take care of the suprapubic catheter.
How is a Suprapubic tube placed?
The suprapubic tube placement for the first time is done either under local numbing injection or under general anesthesia in the operating room. A small cut is made below the belly button and a small rubber or silicone tube is placed from the skin directly into the bladder. A small balloon at the tip of the tube will prevent the catheter from falling out. The tube is typically exchanged once per month and is often done by home health nurses or at a doctor’s office. The exchange does not require any anesthesia and is normally a quick and easy procedure. The tube is not permanent and may at any point be removed and the hole in the skin will close up naturally. With that in mind, however, if the tube accidentally falls out, it is imperative that you either see us in the office the same day or go to the closest urgent care or emergency department to have the tube quickly replaced before the hole in the skin closes back up.
How do I take care of the Suprapubic tube?
Caring for a suprapubic tube is crucial to prevent complications and ensure it functions properly.
Here are some essential guidelines for taking care of a suprapubic tube:
- Keep the area clean: Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water before and after handling the suprapubic tube. Clean the skin around the insertion site daily with mild soap and water, and pat it dry with a clean towel. Avoid using harsh chemicals or alcohol-based solutions near the tube.
- Check for signs of infection: Regularly inspect the insertion site for any signs of infection, such as redness, swelling, warmth, or discharge. If you notice any unusual symptoms or have concerns, contact our office. Its normal to have a little bit of skin redness just around the tube. But if the redness is expanding, that may be a sign of infection.
- Secure the tube: Ensure that the tube is securely taped or fastened to your skin to prevent accidental pulling or dislodging. Some suprapubic tubes have a retention balloon or a disc that should be properly inflated to keep the tube in place.
- Proper positioning: Make sure the tube is not kinked or bent, as this could obstruct the flow of urine. Keep the tube positioned in a way that allows urine to drain freely into the collection bag.
- Drainage bag management: The urine drainage bag should always be kept below the level of the bladder to allow gravity to assist with urine flow. Empty the bag regularly to prevent it from becoming too full, and ensure it is securely attached to the tube.
- Maintain hydration: Drink enough fluids as recommended by your healthcare provider to keep your urine output at a healthy level. Proper hydration can also help prevent urinary tract infections.
- Prevent pulling on the tube: Be cautious not to pull on the suprapubic tube or allow it to get caught on clothing or other objects. Wearing loose, comfortable clothing can help minimize this risk.
- Regular follow-up: Attend all scheduled follow-up appointments with our office in order to monitor the tube's function, check for any complications, and address any concerns you may have.
- Stay active: Unless advised otherwise by your healthcare provider, staying active and engaging in regular physical activity can help maintain overall health and well-being. Just be mindful of the tube and take necessary precautions during activities. Always follow the specific care instructions provided by your healthcare team. If you encounter any problems or have questions about caring for the suprapubic tube, don't hesitate to contact your healthcare provider for guidance and support.