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Catheters

Catheters are constructed of thin plastic, vinyl, silicone or rubber. Urinary Catheters, in particular, are used to deliver or remove fluids to or from the body, typically entering the bladder. The process of catheter insertion is called catheterization. Selecting a urinary catheter is based on several factors, including catheter type, catheter size, catheter tips and assessing the risk of urinary tract infections (UTI). Urinary catheters are manufactured in widths usually designated in French sizes, and length, usually designated in inches or centimeters. There are four urinary catheter types in common use, which include: External Catheters, Intermittent Catheters, Foley Catheters, and Suprapubic Catheters.

External Catheters are male catheters that enclose the penis to contain escaping urine. External Catheters are usually made of latex or silicone and are sometimes referred to as Condom Catheters, because of the way they wrap around the penis instead of entering the urethra. Intermittent Catheters are inserted into the bladder through the urethra for draining urine. They and usually removed when draining is completed. Foley Catheters are similar to an intermittent catheter but have an added feature of a balloon device on the internal end of the catheter to hold the catheter in place. Foley Catheters usually drain into a urinary leg bag or bedside drainage bag. Intermittent and Foley catheters are available with several different catheter tips, including Coude, Straight, Olive and the new Introducer tips. Suprapubic Catheters also drain the bladder, but are inserted through a surgical incision made in the lower stomach/pubic region. Touchless Catheters are intermittent catheters used as part of a closed system for sterility. Inserting catheters is made easier with sterile catheter lubricants.

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Urinary Catheter Types & Catheter Selection Guide