How to Remove a Catheter

How to Remove a Catheter. Two major types of urinary catheters exist, the indwelling and Foley catheters. Outpatients primarily handle the care of their indwelling catheter. About 10 to 15 percent of hospital patients have a Foley catheter. Differences between the two call for alternate methods of removal. With the indwelling catheter, there are two methods of removal. With the Foley, complications arise, which hospital physicians handle. The steps below explain removal procedures.

Indwelling Catheter

Locate the inflation port on the catheter's side and attach a small syringe.

Draw out the fluid using your syringe until no more fluid can be drawn.

Remove the catheter slowly by gently pulling it out completely.

Cut the balloon port tubing, using surgical scissors, as a second alternative to remove your catheter. Wait for all the fluid to drain before slowly pulling out the catheter.

Foley Catheter

Advance the catheter to make sure it's in the bladder.

Cut the balloon port at the inflation valve to remove the valve, allowing fluid to drain. If fluid doesn't drain, there likely is an obstruction at the balloon's entrance or along the length of the catheter.

Lubricate a fine-gauge guidewire and then pass it through the inflammation channel. Fluid should drain along the wire.

Pass a 22-gauge central venous catheter over the guidewire if the fluid still hasn't drained. Remove the wire when the catheter tip is in the balloon and it should drain.

Dissolve the balloon using mineral oil if fluid still hasn't drained. Inject 10 ml of mineral oil with a small syringe through the inflation port. Within 15 minutes, the balloon should dissolve.

Inject an additional 10 ml of mineral oil if, after 15 minutes, the balloon hasn't drained.


Seek medical attention if you can't remove the catheter with only gentle pulling. If you can't urinate within eight hours after removing your catheter, consult your physician. If you have abdominal pain or distension after you remove your catheter, seek medical help. When the catheter balloon doesn't deflate, usually it's due to a malfunction of the inflammation valve. This can happen because of kinking, crushing or external clamping of the inflation channel.


Don't use acetone, chloroform or ether to dissolve the balloon, as these compounds can be potentially toxic to the bladder.