OBGYN Skills Lab
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Inserting a Foley Catheter in Women Video

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Runtime 5 minutes
Size: 11 MB WMV file

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Inserting a Foley Catheter Video

The bladder is located in the pelvis, just behind the pubic bone. Urine drains out of the bladder through the urethra.

For a number of medical reasons, it may be desirable to drain the bladder with a catheter passed through the urethra.

The urethra can be identified just above the vagina and just below the clitoris. The catheter will be placed through the urethra and into the bladder. The urethral opening is identified by separating the labia and depressing the perineum. The opening will then be visible below the clitoris and above the vagina.

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The catheter is inserted using sterile technique.

  • With the patient on her back the supplies are placed between her legs.
  • The supplies are prepared for use.
  • Check the catheter to make sure it is intact and undamaged.
  • The balloon tip is tested with saline prior to insertion. If the catheter is to remain in the patient, the balloon tip will be re-inflated after it is inside the patient.
  • Separate the labia with one hand and cleanse the vulva with antiseptic solution several times. Your hand that is in contact with the patient is now contaminated, but your other hand remains sterile.
  • Insert the lubricated catheter through the urethra and into the bladder.
  • Urine will flow freely through the catheter as soon as the tip is inside the bladder. Insert the catheter a little further than that to be sure the balloon tip is well inside the bladder before it is inflated. You don't want to inflate the balloon tip while it is still inside the urethera.

After the catheter is inserted and the balloon inflated, the catheter is taped to the woman's thigh, making sure there is no tension on the catheter itself and that any inadvertent tugging on the catheter will not dislodge it.

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This information is provided by The Brookside Associates,  a private organization, not affiliated with any governmental agency. The opinions presented here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions of the Brookside Associates. For educational simplicity, only one method is usually shown, but many alternative methods may give satisfactory or superior results.

This information is provided solely for educational purposes. The practice of medicine and surgery is regulated by statute and restricted to licensed professionals and those in training under supervision. Performing these procedures outside of that setting is a bad idea, is not recommended, and may be illegal.

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