Pronounced: sup-ra-pyoo-bik sis-tos-toe-me
by Deanna M. Neff, MPH
Suprapubic cystostomy is a procedure to help drain the bladder (organ that collects and holds urine). A tube called a catheter, which leads out of the lower abdomen, is inserted to drain the bladder.
Reasons for Procedure
This procedure may be done if:
Urine may not be able to pass through the urethra due to:
The procedure may also be done if you need to:
Problems from the procedure are rare, but all procedures have some risk. Your doctor will review potential problems, like:
Before your procedure, talk to your doctor about ways to manage factors that may increase your risk of complications such as:
Your risk of complications may also increase if you have:
What to Expect
Prior to Procedure
Your doctor may do the following:
Talk to your doctor about any medications, herbs, or supplements you are taking. You may be asked to stop taking some medications up to 1 week before the procedure.
In the days before the surgery:
Note —These steps may not be possible in an emergency situation.
Local anesthesia may be used with or without sedation. You will not have any pain during the procedure.
Description of the Procedure
After anesthesia has numbed the area, the doctor will locate the bladder using imaging tools such as ultrasound if needed. Next, a needle will be inserted through your lower abdomen and into your bladder. A wire or sheath will then be guided into the bladder to prepare the site for a catheter. A special catheter will be placed into the bladder. The catheter will be sutured in place. A balloon may be inflated to keep the catheter in place. Afterward, the opening made in the skin (called a stoma) will be covered with gauze.
How Long Will It Take?
How Much Will It Hurt?
Anesthesia will prevent pain during surgery. Pain and discomfort after the procedure can be managed with medications.
Average Hospital Stay
You will either stay in the hospital overnight or go home the same day.
At the Hospital
The hospital staff will:
During your stay, the hospital staff will take steps to reduce your chance of infection such as:
There are also steps you can take to reduce your chances of infection such as:
You will have to restrict your activities while you recover. Follow instructions on cleaning the stoma. It will help prevent infection. The hospital staff will teach you how to change the catheter and collection bag.
Call Your Doctor
Call your doctor if any of these occur:
If you think you have an emergency, call for emergency medical services right away.
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
Urology Care Foundation
Canadian Urological Association
Aguilera PA, Choi T, Durham BA. Ultrasound-guided suprapubic cystostomy catheter placement in the emergency department. J Emerg Med. 2004;26(3):319-321.
Jacob P, Rai BP, Todd AW. Suprapubic catheter insertion using an ultrasound-guided technique and literature review. BJU Int. 2012;110(6):779-784.
Last reviewed March 2020 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Adrienne Carmack, MD
Last Updated: 1/29/2021
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