A patient with postoperative urinary retention forced me to review the topic, conducting my private M&M conference.
Without giving away too much on my patient – female, less than 50 yo, general anesthesia used, length of surgery 4 hrs, ambulatory/outpatient, foley used intraoperatively, fluids used judicially (though I do not know the exact amount given by anesthesia), pain meds (Toradol, fentanyl, and sent home with script for Percocet).
From the first reference article below
I made my usual call to the patient the evening of surgery, asked how she was, “how’s the pain?”, “any concerns?”, “any nausea?”, “are you eating and drinking?”. I don’t recall specifically asking about whether she had peed or not, but I do recall her saying she needed to end the call so she could go to the bathroom.
I received a call from her the next afternoon. “Dr. Bates, I can’t pee. I keep trying and all I can do is dribble.”
The surgery center graciously agreed to catheterize her. I received a call from them immediately afterwards, “Dr. Bates, her residual volume is 1000+ cc.”
The patient graciously agreed to have the foley left in place for the next 24 hrs. I called her later the same evening and we agreed on a time for her to come into my office for the removal of the foley the next day (and yes, I gave thought into leaving it for a second day).
The surgery center’s action kept my patient from having to check in through the emergency department, incurring a wait time and additional cost.
The patient’s agreement allowed me to treat her as an outpatient, helped me reduce the need for a second catheterization, and keep her from incurring more expense.
It was fortunate that the patient had weaned herself from the pain medicine by this time and was mostly taking only Tylenol. Her P.O.U.R quickly resolved.
I did not see this complication coming for this patient. Perhaps the foley could have been left in and removed in recovery. Perhaps anesthesia could have restricted fluids more (though they were careful).
I can think of no reason she might need a urology follow up. Am I missing anything? Where is KeaGirl when you need her?
Predictive Factors of Early Postoperative Urinary Retention in the Postanesthesia Care Unit; Anesthesia & Analgesia, August 2005 Vol. 101 No. 2 592-596; doi: 10.1213/01.ANE.0000159165.90094.40
Postoperative Urinary Retention; Anesthesiology Clinics, Volume 27, Issue 3, Pages 465-484 (September 2009)
Patient Safety in the Office-Based Setting; Horton, J Bauer; Reece, Edward M.; Broughton, George II; Janis, Jeffrey E.; Thornton, James F.; Rohrich, Rod J.; Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery. 117(4):61e-80e, April 1, 2006; doi: 10.1097/01.prs.0000204796.65812.68
Urinary Retention in Adults: Diagnosis and Initial Management; Brian A. Selius, DO, Rajesh Subedi, MD; Am Fam Physician, 2008 Mar 1;77(5):643-650.