Do you get a catheter during gastric sleeve surgery?

A catheter is a device that is inserted to take care of the bladder manually in case of urinary problems. If there are signs in patients, the doctor shall set the reasons why it should be used and the duration of use will be determined throughout catheter gastric sleeve surgery.

There are a few reasons for it to be used but mainly the goal is to help the patient empty the bladder without causing urinal retention. There is nothing to worry about because the chances of it being used are not usual, and the post-tube-usage complications are even lower. That is of course if the catheter was handled without an invasive approach, accordingly, it causes only minimal discomfort if not at all.

So, do you get a catheter during gastric sleeve surgery? Read the article below to expand the idea of catheter usage in weight loss surgeries.

Is a catheter used in gastric sleeve surgery?

Is a catheter used in gastric sleeve surgery? Generally, the catheter is used in gastric sleeve surgery but not for everyone, in some medical cases it might be necessary to maintain recovery. The main usage for it is to drain liquids from your body. The reasons vary depending on your overall health pre and post-op, and it is related to your medical history as well.

In terms of how it is handled, that differs from one person to another. The reasons vary due to the health of the patient and other factors, and the nursery will last not more than a day, sometimes it is removed right after surgery and you won’t be facing any pain after waking up.

In the case of catheter use even a day after discharge, you will need a follow-up visit to check on the conditions and quality of the flow of the urination. Your doctor will examine the situation and see if there are any blockages or retention, and you should also share your experience and if there are any abnormalities. That will help your doctor with the catheter removal decisions and finally, you could go home once again.

When is a catheter considered to be used?

The chances for a catheter being involved in gastric sleeve procedure are unlikely. The idea of it is to reduce bladder complications or help the patient to urinate due to post-op tiredness. Therefore it may not be used for you unless there are examinations that show potential bladder-related issues such as POUR (post-operative urinary retention). 

POUR is a complication faced post-op and the main issue is when the patient can’t effectively urinate or is unable to urinate at all for 7-10 hours post-procedure. Thus, the necessity of catheters being used depends if there are signs that would show the possibility of direct or indirect issues with the bladder. Here are the three reasons why a patient might need a catheter:

  1. Medical history: In case of conditions such as urinary retention, bladder dysfunction, or enlarged prostate, there is a necessity to use a catheter to avoid urinary retention.
  2. Anesthesia: After waking up from the surgery you might still be under the influence of general anesthesia, which relaxes all body muscles including bladder muscles. That may cause difficulties to urinate post-surgery. A catheter might be used to avoid post-op urinary retention. 
  3. Surgeon’s preference: Some surgeons follow rules and protocols for catheter usage whilst performing surgery. The chances are lower if the duration of the surgery is low.

However, do you get a catheter during gastric sleeve surgery? Ultimately the decision to use a catheter during gastric sleeve is based on your situation. The main goal of it is to reduce the risks of urinal difficulties, it is never certain that you to face issues even if there were signs or a history of bladder issues. Therefore, it’s only to reduce the risks of postoperative urinary retention.

Is it painful?

The catheter gastric sleeve surgery is placed while the patients are under general anesthesia, therefore the patient won’t sense any sort of discomfort. However, you might feel a degree of discomfort after waking up from surgery, or a slight sensation of burning. The level of discomfort is subjective and differs from one person to another.

However, the urinary catheter may be attached for a day or two, which depends on your recovery, and facing no issues with urinating. It is even possible to not face any sort of ache, which is of course if the tube is removed post-op immediately. You will still be unconscious not feeling its presence.

Does a catheter cause any problems?

In the case of catheter use during bariatric surgery such as laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy, the percentage of facing problems are low. Even if there are complications faced, it’s unlikely to be severe and easy to recover from. It could be due to infection or damage.

Urinary tract infection: UTI is caused due to bacteria interacting with a foreign object (tube). Therefore your surgeon will make sure it’s rinsed and sterilized before insertion, which helps to reduce the chance of infection. Time also plays a role in the catheter causing complications if it stays there for a few days after surgery. Typically it is needed mostly for two days max. That is why they will immediately remove it once it has served its purpose.

Damage: A tube or catheter must be inserted gently, and carefully with no sudden moves. That’s why a trained nurse or urologist must handle it. Also, there are a few types of catheters, mismatching the need of it may cause blockage due to blood clots, or risk of leak. Also, there is a chance of damaging the sites between the organ and the bladder or injuring the bladder itself, which could cause either bleeding or inflammation.

Keep in mind that the fact of the catheter being used is low and the chances of its complication are even lower. However, it won’t cause an actual surgical complication but the surgery team will have to take an effective approach to take care of it. With proper examination and assure it is not causing any difficulties with urination flow it helps to take the right decision.

Roadman D, Helm M, Goldblatt MI, Kindel TL, Gould JC, Higgins RM. Postoperative Urinary Retention After Bariatric Surgery: An Institutional Analysis. J Surg Res. 2019;243:83-89. doi:10.1016/j.jss.2019.05.005

Helmen ZM, Helm MC, Helm JH, et al. Predictors of Postoperative Urinary Tract Infection After Bariatric Surgery. Obes Surg. 2018;28(7):1950-1954. doi:10.1007/s11695-017-3095-6

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