"S.P. tube" stands for suprapubic tube. This is similar to a small piece of intravenous tubing that is placed via the lower abdomen into the urinary bladder. It is secured to the abdominal wall skin with stitches so that it will not fall out. The end of the tube is either connected to a drainage bag or is plugged so that urine will not lead out of the tube. The end of the tubing can easily be coiled within your underwear.
There are approximately six inches of tubing coiled within the urinary bladder. This can cause irritation creating the sensation that you have to urinate, and sometimes inducing frequent urination or spasms causing temporary leakage. The coiled tube within the urinary bladder can sometimes irritate the bladder enough to cause it to bleed a small amount. Do not be alarmed by any of these symptoms as they are all temporary and will cease after removal of the suprapubic tube. It is recommended that while the tube is in place that you restrict your activities to non-exertional activities. You may resume a completely normal diet. You may shower or bathe with the tube in place.
In summary, a suprapubic tube is a method of t managing voiding difficulties. The tube is used as a safety valve to ensure complete emptying of the urinary bladder and most patients tolerate it extraordinarily well with no long term ill effects.
Andrew Siegel, M.D.
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