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Thread: Suprapubic Catheter Questions

  1. #1

    Suprapubic Catheter Questions

    Hi everyone! Forgive me for just jumping in here with my first post asking questions about a topic that already has an on going thread, but I still have a few questions after reading through it. My Mom has had MS for 30 years and is completely paralyzed with just a little use of her right hand still. She has had a catheter now for about 20 years which has been a nightmare to say the least. Besides the frequent infections ,the changes have always been very painful for her. She screams in pain while the tube is being inserted and has trauma to her bladder resulting in a painful day of bleeding afterwards. Today, during her catheter change at the hospital, one of the nurses mentioned trying a suprapubic catheter and explained to us the proceedure and how it would be surgically inserted through her abdominal wall. She also said the skin would grow around this tube and it would only need to be removed if there was a problem with it. But after she talked with us, another nurse came in and said no, the tube that was surgically inserted would have to be changed every 3 weeks similar to the other one she's had for 20 years. By that time my Father had heard enough and dismissed the whole idea.My question is, does the tube that was surgically inserted have to be changed every 3 weeks at the hospital and does it require a similar proceedure as the first surgery to change it every time? Or was the second nurse talking about an adjoining tube to the surgical tube that needed to be changed. I'm afraid if it is the surgical tube that needs replaced that often, my Mother would not be able to handle it.I guess I just need to know the details of what we would be facing and is it worth going through with.Thank you for all your help! I do appreciate it so much!

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Amarillo TX
    I have a super-pubic that my wife changes monthly. It's held in by a saline filled balloon inside the bladder that's accessed via it's own "port" that's contiguous with the catheter tube. The catheter tube drains into a leg bag or bedside bag. It comes as two parts, the tube itself and a sterile kit with gloves, lubricating gel and a saline syringe. My wife had a home health nurse show her how to change it the first time. It only takes her about 10 min. to change it now but that's with several dozen changes under her belt.

    It was installed during a minor surgery. I believe most are short day surgerys but I had another procedure done the same day and had to stay in a couple of days.

    I can't attest to the pain of changing it because I have no feeling from the chest down.

  3. #3
    Thank you rapid524 for your response. That makes more sense as to what both nurses were talking about.

    So if I understand this right, a tube is surgically inserted during the surgery and stays there for a short period of time while the skin heals around it. When everything is healed up, the tube is removed leaving a direct 'port' to the bladder for the actual catheter tube to be inserted into and then secured in the bladder with the balloon. And my Dad and I will be able to change the tube ourselves at home once we've been shown how by her doctor. Wow, that would be such a relief for my Mom not to have to go to the emergency room for the change and not to have to go through the pain that the other catheter gives her.

    Thanks again! I'll relay this to my Dad and let him know it's still a good thing!!!

  4. #4
    A Suprapubic tube may be a good answer for your Mom. Another thing to keep in mind, is that it may not need to be changed quite as frequently. Many people I know prefer it to a urethral catheter because it is a lot easier. Also, since the tube is larger in diameter, it tends to clog less.

    Given that your Mom has had a catheter for 20 years, I am assuming that you know all the reasons to not use a catheter and this works best for your Mom.

    If any of you have any other questions, feel free to ask.


  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Amarillo TX
    The catheter goes directly into the bladder via the hole in the abdomen. The saline filled balloon is part of the catheter tube.
    Last edited by rapid524; 09-24-2008 at 09:27 PM.

  6. #6
    Here are a few threads on the subject. Use the search function on the blue bar in the middle of the page and type ''suprapubic'' and find tons more.

    Life isn't like a bowl of cherries or peaches. It's more like a jar of jalapenos--What you do today might burn your ass tomorrow.

    If you ain't laughing, you ain't living, baby. Carlos Mencia

  7. #7

    Supra pubic catheter

    My daughter c5 c6 has had a supra pubic cath in since she left the hospital last year. The only issue is, if your Mom has bladder stones this may require you to have the cath changed sooner b/c the tube can become clogged. We go to our urologist b/c we couldn't find a nurse and insurance covers it.

    Sam, c5 c6, incomplete, with some c7 function,
    Aggie Mom 2007

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