Suprapubic cystostomy

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Suprapubic cystostomy
ICD-9-CM V55.5, 57.17, 57.18
MeSH D003559

A suprapubic cystostomy (also known as a vesicostomy or epicystostomy) is a surgically created connection between the urinary bladder and the skin which is used to drain urine from the bladder in individuals with obstruction of normal urinary flow. Urinary flow may be blocked by swelling of the prostate (benign prostatic hypertrophy), traumatic disruption of the urethra, congenital defects of the urinary tract, or by obstructions such as kidney stones passed into the urethra, and cancer. It is also a common treatment used among spinal cord injury patients who are unable or unwilling to use intermittent catheterization to empty the bladder, and cannot otherwise void due to detrusor sphincter dyssynergia.

Initially, a thin tube (catheter) is placed through the skin just above the pubic bone into the bladder, often with the assistance of ultrasound imaging.[1] This catheter initially remains in place for up to a month while the tissue around it scars and forms a tract (sinus) between the bladder and the body exterior. After the formation of scar tissue is complete, the catheter is replaced periodically in order to help prevent infection

Indications for suprapubic catheters include:

  • Failed urethral catheter,
  • Long term usage (if left in urethral long terms catheters can lead to acquired hypospadias and recurrent/chronic UTIs, urinary tract infections).


  • Need to rule out bladder cancer in cases of clot retention
  • Lower abdominal incisions with likelihood of adhesions
  • Pelvic fracture


  • UTIs
  • Blockage
  • Bladder Stones
  • Bladder cancer
  • Bypass track by urine

References in media[edit]

The suprapubic cystostomy (spelled "cystotomy", without the "s") is a specialty of the fictional physician Stephen Maturin in Patrick O'Brian's twenty-one volume series on the Royal Navy during the Napoleonic era.[2]


  1. ^ Aguilera PA, Choi T, Durham BA (2004). "Ultrasound-guided suprapubic cystostomy catheter placement in the emergency department". J Emerg Med 26 (3): 319–21. doi:10.1016/j.jemermed.2003.11.016. PMID 15028331. 
  2. ^ O'Brian, Patrick (1998). The Hundred Days (Aubrey/Maturin Series). New York: W.W. Norton & Company. p. 47. ISBN 0-393-31979-2. 

External links[edit]