Urine Catheter Normal Following TT and BA with Lift?

I was told by my nurse last night that I will have a urine catheter for three days and I will have to remove it at my fist shower. This is not something that was ever mentioned to me before- and I have never heard of. And yes I asked the question- I will have 2 drains, 1 pain pump and a bag of urine? And the answer was yes..... Is this normal? It's making me panic to find this out 2 days before... I'm having a TT, BA and a lift. Thanks!

Doctor Answers 13

Urine catheter after Tummy Tuck

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What is considered normal varies from doctor to doctor and between areas of the country. I can tell you in 30 years I have never left a cather in a patients bladder after the surgeries you mentioned. I have only heard of one death in our community after a tummy tuck and it was a patient placed in the hospital for several days with a catheter so she never had to get up and walk and developed a fatal blood clot. I think, like Dr. Pousti, that it is better to be up and about after the surgery and the pain pump catheter you mentioned is a great aid in that.

Portland Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Use of Urinary Catheter after Tummy Tuck?

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Thank you for the question.

The use of a urinary catheter after tummy tuck and breast surgery  is not necessarily routine for most surgeons. Personally, I urge deep breathing and ambulation immediately after surgery to help avoid deep venous thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, and pneumonia complications.  Patients can ambulate to the restroom and generally do not have problems voiding.

No reason to panic however;  I would suggest you simply ask your plastic surgeon what his/her rationale  is  for the use of the urinary  catheter.  There may be a reason for the catheter.

I hope this helps.

Is A Urinary Catheter Necessary After TT and BA ?

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Once your bladder becomes overfilled or if you are on narcotics, have anesthetic agents still in your system and some on some other medications you lose the urge or tone of your bladder.  Your plastic surgeon may be keeping the catheter in so you do not have to get up and go to the rest room for comfort. However this has to be balanced with the fact that it is helpful for you to move around often to prevent blood clots in your legs. I generally remove a urinary catheter prior to the patient awakening after anesthesia and encourage patients to walk every 1-2 hours while awake. Ask your surgeon for his rationale and your options.

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Urine catheter after tummy tuck, breast augmentation - how long is normal

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For long cases such as what you are contemplating, it is normal for the use of a urinary catheter.  This is often left in place until you are able to get up and go to the bathroom on your own or with minimal assistance.  For patients who stay in the hospital after a tummy tuck and who are receiving IV fluids throughout the night, a catheter can also make it convenient to get a better rest.  My routine is to remove the catheter the following morning for patients spending the night and encouraging them to walk and use the bathroom.  Also, don't believe everything your nurse tells you.  Though each surgeon may vary their routine, I would wait until you hear from the surgeon when you drains, pain pump, and urinary catheter can be removed.  Good luck.

Catheter after tummy tuck

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In many instances a urinary catheter is used during the procedure to decompress the bladder and to monitor your fluid status; however, it is commonly removed at the end of the procedure.  Some patients experience urinary retention (unable to pee) after general anesthesia. If you were unable to void your bladder, then maybe a catheter would be left in place. Ask your plastic surgeon what the rationale is for leaving you with a catheter for three days. Good luck.

J. Jason Wendel, MD, FACS
Nashville Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 221 reviews

Breast Augmentation - Urine Catheter Normal Following TT and BA with Lift?

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While it is relatively more common to use a urinary catheter DURING the surgery for longer procedures - and a combine TT and BA with Lift could count as long enough - it is equally unusual to leave that catheter in for 3 days.  It may even be contraindicated as it can be a source of infection.  With appropriate antibiotics and monitoring this issue can be minimized but it is not, in my experience, routine for me to leave a catheter in place for 3 days post-op with these procedures; in fact, I have never done that.

The question though is why your surgeon wants to do so?  Do you have any underlying medical or urologic issues that would make this beneficial?  And how will YOU remove it at your first shower?  I agree with early mobilization, close monitoring post-op and many of the other things that have been suggested.  But I also agree that leaving a catheter in for 3 days post-op is unusual.  It is reasonable for you to talk to your PS to ask for an explanation.

I hope that the helps, and good luck,

Dr. E

Urinary Catheter after Tummy Tuck

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Your procedure should not need a urinary catheter unless you are having bladder work at the same time, have a history of urinary problems or some other medical condition. It is very rare to need a catheter after this type of surgery and leaving one in for 3 days increase the risk of infection. Ask you surgeon why you need it. 

Karol A. Gutowski, MD, FACS
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 76 reviews

Urinary catheter after abdominoplasty

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I do not use a urine catheter after surgery.   Generally, the surgery center will make sure that the patient can void prior to releasing them.  You will not be so debilitated after surgery that you will not be able to get out of bed and to the toilet.  Catherization carries its own risks and complications and I would not use it unless there was a specific medical reason for concern.  There is a difference between using a catheter during the operation and sending the patient home with one.  I do send patients home with surgical drains and this is routine for many plastic surgeons.

Urine drainage catheter after Mommy Makeover

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Everyone has different protocols after surgery.

I personally do not leave a urinary catheter after surgery.  If the operation is going to be longer than about 3 hours, we will place one after the patient is asleep and then remove it before she wakes up.  I think most of the plastic surgeons in San Antonio follow the same protocol.

Very rarely do I leave a catheter in and if I do, I have the patient remove it the following day.  It is very easy to remove, all you have to do is connect a syringe to empty fluid from a balloon and then pull it out and throw it away.  Sounds hard and weird, but its pretty straight forward.

Good luck with your tummy tuck, breast augmentation, and breast lift!

Suresh Koneru, MD
San Antonio Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

Tummy tuck and bladder catheter

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Everyones post-op protocl is different. I used to keep patients over night in the hospital for a standard tummy tuck, and now I send them home the same day. If they are healthy I do it in my accredited office OR.  I don't usually place a bladder catheter in patients unless it is a long procedure more than 3-4 hours and if I do use one, it is often removed at the end of the procedure.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 30 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.