Thats a good question, and easy to answer, and we will assume we are talking about
the two types being used on a male patient.
A foley catheter, as you know first hand, enters from your penis, through your urethra, past your bladder neck, and into the bladder itself. After it is installed, the dr/nurse inserts saline into a balloon on the inside end of the catheter. It fills up, and keeps the catheter from being forced right back out your penis. As urine builds up, it flows into the tiny inlet end of the catheter, which is right on the other side of the balloon portion, and drains out into either a leg bag or the big bag, the night time bag.
A SP catheter stands for suprapubic, it has to be inserted surgically, and it typical comes out of your body an inch or so to the left or right of your navel. It goes right through your skin and muscle, and penetrates the wall of the bladder. A balloon is used just like in the foley, but instead of the balloon resting at the bottom of your bladder against your bladder neck, it sits up higher in your bladder. It then drains into bags just like any other catheter.
If you are going to be on one long term like me, the usual rule is to change them out every 4-6 weeks. In most nursing homes, catheters have to be changed every 28 days by regulation.
I had so much trouble with my bladder neck closing up after surgery, and requiring painful dialation procedures, and corrective surgeries to re-
open it, that when I was about
to start my radiation treatments, it was decided that since the radiation would cause swelling, we mutually decided to have the SP installed on me, knowing that I would need to be on a catheter for at least 3 full months. It is still a nuisance, but not as bad as if it were a foley for so long.
Hope this helps
David in SC
57, 56 dx, PSA: 7/07 5.8, 7/08 12.3, 9/08 14.5, 10/08 16.33rd Biopsy
: 9/08 - 7/7 Positive, 40-90% Cancer, Gleason 4+3Open RP:
11/08, Rht nerves saved, 4 days in hospt, on catheters for 63 days, 5th one out 1/09Path Rpt
: Gleason 3+4, pT2c, 42g, 20% cancer, 1 pos margin
Incontinence: 1 Month ED: Non issue at any point post surgery
Post Surgery PSA: 2/09 .05,5/09 .1, 6/09 .11. 8/09 .16
Latest: 7/9 met 2 rad. oncl, 7/9 cath #6 - blockage, 8/9 2nd corr surgery, 8/9 cath #7 out 38 days, 9/9 - met 3rd rad. oncl., mapped 9/9, 10/1 - 3rd corr. surgery - SP cath/hard dialation, 10/5 - began IMRT SRT - 39 sess/72 gys ,cath #8 33 days, Cath #9 in 35 days, 12/7/9 - Cath #10 in place