Changing Your Suprapubic Catheter

If you have a suprapubic catheter, at some point you will need to have it removed and replaced. This is something that you can learn to do yourself. Your doctor or a nurse who has experience in doing so can teach you how to facilitate a suprapubic catheter change.

Some important basics regarding this process include:

  • Prior to removing the old catheter, making sure you have the right sized replacement.
  • Utilization of a sterile process.
  • Review of the various steps.
  • Setting up all supplies so they are accessible.

When to Change Your Device

suprapubic catheterIt’s important to change your suprapubic catheter in a timely manner. How often you should do this depends upon the size of your device, how often it is cleaned, and the manner in which it is used. The longer a catheter is used the more likely it is that it will become blocked, develop harmful bacteria, or suffer some sort of failure. It’s recommended that your device be changed every four to six weeks, however, a Silicone Foley and silver coated catheter may be changed every 3 months. Consult the original instructions that are included with your catheter and check with your doctor regarding when you should change your suprapubic catheter.

How to Changing Your Suprapubic Catheter

It is very important that you maintain a sterile environment when removing your old and inserting your new catheter. The procedure needs to be done in an efficient, quick, and careful manner.

Supplies Needed

  • 2 pair sterile medical gloves
  • Pad for incontinence.
  • Alcohol wipes
  • Sterilized Sodium Chloride (0.9%)
  • Standard dressing supplies
  • Gauze dressing and cotton tipped swabs, sterilized
  • If balloon involved, a 10ml syringe
  • If sutures involved, stitch cutter or sterilized scissors

The Procedure

  • Clean your hands with soap and warm water and dry your hands thoroughly.
  • Make sure all supplies are nearby and easy to access.
  • Place incontinence pad down and lie on it with your back down.
  • Remove dressing.
  • Clean site using Sodium Chloride.
  • Remove sutures or deflate catheter balloon.
  • Using a straight steady motion, take hold of the catheter and pull it out via a steady, in-line motion.
  • Inspect the site for any usual signs, such as redness, pus, or swelling. If you find anything usual make sure you contact your physician ASAP.
  • If the site is fine, go on to the next steps involved in replacing your catheter.

Changing a Device

Make sure that you replace your catheter quickly. The opening will start to close within a few hours. The supplies listed below should be assembled prior to removing the old device.

Required Supplies

In addition to supplies above you’ll need the following:

  • Catheter, sterilized
  • Urine drainage bag of the appropriate size
  • Sterile cotton balls
  • Sterile gauze dressing
  • Medical tape
  • Gauze dressing
  • K-Y Jelly


  • Replace gloves with new pair.
  • First, using sterilized sodium chloride (0.9%), sterilize the area around the stoma by applying it to cotton balls and cleaning the site.
  • Lubricate the catheter tip with K-Y Jelly.
  • Slowly insert catheter carefully and gently while holding it at a 90-degree angle (length of insertion is usually 3 to 4 inches or 8 to 10 cm).
  • Insert it as far in as the old one had been.
  • Connect the 10cc syringe onto the new catheter port and inflate the balloon.
  • Attach tubing and new bag.
  • Dress the area using gauze and medical tape.

Functioning Properly?

Once you have completed your suprapubic catheter change monitor it to make sure that it is functioning properly. If you have any problems, contact your healthcare professional quickly.

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