Postoperative Catheter Management After Pelvic Reconstructive Surgery: A Survey of Practice Strategies

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The aim of this study was to evaluate practice preferences in catheter management after a failed inpatient voiding trial after pelvic reconstructive surgery.


This is a cross-sectional study of postoperative catheter management after pelvic reconstructive surgery after failed voiding trial. Physicians practicing at ACGME-accredited residencies and fellowships in Obstetrics and Gynecology (Ob/Gyn), Urology, and Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery (FPMRS) within the United States completed a Web-based questionnaire in March 2017. Respondents were asked about voiding trial protocols, definitions of abnormal postvoid residual (PVR), type of catheterization used after failed voiding trials, and antibiotic use. Primary outcome was type of catheterization after failure of an inpatient voiding trial. Data were analyzed using χ2 statistical tests.


One hundred five respondents had a mean age of 36.5 years (range, 36 years). A total of 45.9% of participants practiced in FPMRS, 36.5% in Ob/Gyn, and 17.6% in Urology. Catheters were discontinued most frequently by postoperative day 1 after all procedures. Distribution of catheterization by specialty differed. Clean-intermittent straight catheterization had the greatest prevalence in all specialties and was the highest, by percentage, in Urology (33% Ob/Gyn, 40.6% FPMRS, and 69% Urology); P = 0.026. Type of catheterization differed significantly between Ob/Gyn and FPMRS respondents (P = 0.045). A total of 77.7% measured PVR by ultrasound and 22.3% performed catheterization. This distribution was similar across the specialties (70% Ob/Gyn, 79% FPMRS, and 100% Urology; P = 0.092). Abnormal PVR was defined most frequently as 150 mL or greater (30.5%). A minority of respondents routinely administer antibiotics during catheterization (17.1%). Duration and time until repeat voiding trial varied from 1 day to 2 weeks.


Practice variability in catheterization after pelvic reconstructive and incontinence surgery is high. Distribution of catheterization type by specialty varies significantly, with clean-intermittent straight catheterization most prevalent. Future studies are necessary to establish a consensus on optimal catheterization management technique for patients with acute postoperative voiding dysfunction.

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