Home HealthTopics Health Centers Reference Library Research
Join us on Facebook Join us on Facebook Share on Facebook


Need for urinary catheter during surgery...



Is a urinary catheter needed for small outpatient procedures(<1 hr) requiring anesthesia? Is there a time limit where one can go without one?


A urinary catheter is not usually needed for procedures lasting less than an hour. Unless the surgery involves the urogenital system.

There is no absolute time limit, but for procedures lasting more than about 3-4 hours we would normally put in a urinary catheter.

As always, there are benefits and risks to placing a urinary catheter. Among the benefits: the bladder does not become distended (which may interfere with surgery in some cases,  creates discomfort, and even increases in heart rate and blood pressure) and the amount of urine produced can be monitored.

Among the drawbacks: an increased risk of bladder or urine infection, and catheter-related discomfort when the person awakens from the anesthesia.

The need for a urinary catheter can be limited by giving less fluid during the case, but this is not always possible.

In many cases, the urinary catheter can be withdrawn very soon after the end of the procedure.

If you have particular concerns about this, please discuss with your anesthesiologist and surgeon.


For more information:

Go to the Anesthesia health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Gareth S Kantor, MD Gareth S Kantor, MD
Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University