The purpose of the catheter is to allow urine to drain while the area around the operation starts to heal. It is usually removed after about 1-2 weeks but may be needed for longer. Once the catheter has been inserted, it is held in the bladder by a small balloon which is inflated with sterile water. It is not stitched into place. Men do worry that their catheter will fall out – this is very unlikely although it can happen if it is accidentally tugged hard.
3 A catheter showing the balloon inflated.
4Inflated catheter balloon in place in the bladder
Immediately after your surgery, the urine will appear very red because it contains blood and clots. Do not be alarmed, this is perfectly normal. Over the next couple of days your urine will gradually become lighter red/pink until it is back to its normal colour.
At first the catheter will be attached to a night drainage bag. This is a large bag (about 2 litres capacity) that can be fixed to the bed or to a portable stand to allow you to walk around.
5 Night drainage bag showing urine containing blood
When you are at home you will have the option of a leg bag. These are small bags (350-750 mls) that attach to your leg. They allow you to be more mobile with discreet drainage.
6 Leg bag
Anything else I need to know?
These information sheets provide more detail about catheters, collection bags and catheter management:
• Basic catheter information
• Caring for your catheter at home
• Collection bags
Read more about what will happen next: