For Plastic Surgery Procedures That Go on for 5 or 6 Hours Are You Catherized? Thanks! Kathy

Doctor Answers 13

Need for a urinary catheter.

You will need to ask your plastic surgeon this question.  But for any procedure that exceeds 3.5 hrs, I generally will have a foley catheter placed in the patient to avoid any problems with urinary retention.  The catheter is removed before the patient is awake.  

Placing a urinary catheter

There are no clear set rules about placing a urinary catheter.   In cases that last more than 4 hours it can be beneficial.  

Jeffrey Zwiren, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 14 reviews

Urinary Catheter Placement

The simple answer is yes.  I place a catheter if my procedures go longer than 2 hours or if I need to critically watch the urine production such as in large volume liposuction.

Dr.  ES

Urinary Catheter For Aesthetic Procedures

I place a urinary catheter for all breast reductions, tummy tucks, and abdominal liposuctions and any other procedures lasting more than a couple of hours.  Unless there is a reason not to, I routinely remove the catheters before patients leave the OR.

John Whitt, MD (retired)
Louisville Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 2 reviews


I place a catheter for cases longer than 3-4 hours. Otherwise, patient will have discomfort (even under anesthesia) and probably wet themselves. 

Urinary catheter is appropriate for operations over 3-4 hours.

The longer the surgical procedure, the longer an intravenous line runs, and the more fluid you receive. A full bladder can cause significant blood pressure changes and other physiologic responses, even in a fully asleep (anesthetized) patient. So a catheter is not only useful, but important for patient safety as well as comfort.

And who wants to have to get up and pee right after waking up from surgery?

Don't fear a catheter; it goes in after you are asleep, and I have my staff remove it before my patients wake up. But it's there when we need it! Best wishes! Dr. Tholen

Richard H. Tholen, MD, FACS
Minneapolis Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 220 reviews

Urinary catheter in longer cases

We catheterize any case over 3 hours. You will definitely need a catheter for 5-6 hr case. 

Richard Dale Reynolds, MD
El Paso Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

For Plastic Surgery Procedures That Go on for 5 or 6 Hours Are You Catheterized?

      Catheter placement is reasonable for bladder decompression and for monitoring of urine output in longer cases.                                                                                                                                  Kenneth Hughes, MD Los Angeles, CA

When Do You Need a Catheter During Surgery?

This is a good question. In general, it is best to place catheters in patients to decompress their bladders during surgeries that are expected to last greater than 4 hours. That is a good rule of thumb to go by. I will wait until the patient is asleep before placing the catheters and will usually remove them before the patient wakes up. On longer cases, 6-8 hours, I will leave the catheter until the next morning to watch fluid output and help the patient not have to get up too much during the first night.

Some surgeries, like laparoscopy or urological procedures, may require a catheter for even shorter cases. Ask your surgeon if you will need one during your surgery. There is really almost no risk with the short use of a catheter.

Erez Sternberg, MD
Jacksonville Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 28 reviews


Yes. In general any procedure lasting more than 2-3 hours or if a lot of fluid is given IV, then a catheter is necessary

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.