Is There Any Reason Why a Cathether is Left in After Surgery?

I am having a tt in 1 week. Is there any reason why my cath would not be removed before I wake up? I never had bladder issues after gen anesth. and I would much rather wet my bed rather than feel a cath come out. I was told it would be taken out before I awaken in recovery-but my friend who just had the same procedure 2 weeks ago woke up with hers still in and she said it hurt like h--- when the nurse removed it. How can I assure that does not happen to me? Thanks in advance for any advice!

Doctor Answers 10


Catheters are commonly used during procedures lasting over 3 hours.  They are usually removed prior to a patient being discharged from the surgery center.  Patients normally do not experience discomfort or pain with the removal process. It is important that you discuss your issues with your plastic surgeon.

La Jolla Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 36 reviews

Catheter after Tummy Tuck?

   A catheter after tummy tuck should be removed without any sequellae and minimal pain.  It just involves deflating a balloon. 

Kenneth B. Hughes, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 496 reviews

Is There Any Reason Why a Cathether is Left in After Surgery?

Discuss this in advance with your surgeon. It is quite uncommon for catheter removal to be painful. If your surgeon plans to remove this when you are still asleep, there is no reason he wouldn't do that!

I almost never used catheters, unless there will be a combined procedure lasting over 3 hours. 

Thanks, best wishes.

Jourdan Gottlieb, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 45 reviews


I dont use a urinary catheter when I do the tummy tucks. Every surgeon and anesthesiologist has their own preferences

Norman Bakshandeh, MD, FACS
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 14 reviews

Urinary catheter after surgery

Every plastic surgeon and surgical team will have different ways to manage patients after surgery.    We generally take out the catheter, if we use it at all, before the patient wakes up.  There are other reasons why a catheter would be used that include the length of the operation and the anticipated extent of the recovery.   Discuss your concerns with your surgical team.  

Jeffrey Zwiren, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 19 reviews

Urinary Catheter and Tummy Tuck Surgery?

Thank you for the question.

The best way to obtain a relevant answer is to ask your plastic surgeon this question. In my practice, I  generally remove catheters before patients are discharged  as outpatients. Patients generally do well and are “forced” to ambulate to get to the restroom. This earlier ambulation is important.

 Best wishes with your upcoming procedure.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,502 reviews

Urinary catheter and tummy tuck

If you have concerns about the placement of a catheter, make sure you discuss them with your surgeon before surgery.  I generally will place a urinary catheter and leave it in for the first night.  While we encourage patients to get up the first night of surgery to prevent DVTs, some patients have difficulty moving well.  The catheter is left in place because frequent urination is possible the first night due to fluids received in the OR as well as after surgery.  Removing a catheter is usually a relatively painless experience, your friend must have had an unusual experience.  Good luck with your surgery!

Naveen Setty, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 75 reviews

Urinary Catheters for Tummy Tucks

This is a great question. There is not any right or wrong. I generally leave the catheter in over night so that my patients don't have to worry about getting up out of bed to go to the bathroom. I like to keep my patients well hydrated to reduce nausea and the risks of DVT. Continued IV fluids means you will need to pee frequently - hence the convenience of the catheter. This doesn't mean however that you shouldn't be getting out of bed to walk even on the first night, since we all know early ambulation also helps to reduce DVT. Some docs take the catheter out so that the patient has to get out of bed to pee which by default makes them ambulate. It shouldn't hurt when it is in or when it is removed. Your friend had a bad experience.

Ronald Schuster, MD
Baltimore Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 81 reviews


You should address this with your surgeon. There may have been a good reason for this, but only they can answer that....

Aldo Guerra, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 202 reviews

Tummy tuck and catheter

Placement of catheter during TT is purely up to the surgeon. Sometimes it is necessary due to previous medical history, or if it is going to be a long case. I generally do not use a catheter for procedures under 3 hours. Discuss the matter with your surgeon and see what his thought are on using a catheter. Use of a catheter can increase risk of bladder infections

Shahriar Mabourakh, MD, FACS
Sacramento Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 212 reviews

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.