Optimal timing of urinary catheter removal following pelvic colorectal surgery: a systematic review and meta-analysis

  • Yung Lee
  • Tyler McKechnie
  • Jeremy E. Springer
  • Aristithes G. Doumouras
  • Dennis Hong
  • Cagla EskiciogluEmail author



Acute urinary retention (AUR) is a common postoperative complication in colorectal surgery. In pelvic colorectal operations, the optimal duration for postoperative urinary catheter use is controversial. This systematic review and meta-analysis aims to compare early (POD 1), intermediate (POD 3), and late (POD 5) urinary catheter removal.


Medline, EMBASE, CENTRAL, and PubMed databases were searched. Articles were eligible for inclusion if they compared patients with urinary catheter removal on POD 1 or earlier to patients with urinary catheter removal on POD 2 or later in major pelvic colorectal surgeries. The primary outcome was rate of postoperative AUR. The secondary outcome was rates of postoperative urinary tract infection (UTI).


From 691 relevant citations, five studies with 928 patients were included. Comparison of urinary catheter removal on POD 1 versus POD 3 demonstrated no significant difference in rate of urinary retention (RR 1.36, 95%CI 0.83–2.21, P = 0.22); however, compared to POD 5, rates of AUR were significantly higher (RR 2.58, 95%CI 1.51–4.40, P = 0.0005). Rates of UTI were not significantly different between POD 1 and POD 3 urinary catheter removal (RR 0.40, 95%CI 0.05–3.71, P = 0.45), but removal on POD 5 significantly increased risk of UTI compared to POD 1 (RR 0.50, 95%CI 0.31–0.81, P = 0.005).


Risk of AUR can be minimized with late postoperative urinary catheter removal compared to early removal, but at the cost of increased risk of UTI. Patient-specific factors should be taken into consideration when deciding upon optimal duration of postoperative urinary catheterization.


Colorectal surgery Pelvic surgery Urinary catheter Acute urinary retention Urinary tract infections 


Author’s contributions

Study concept and design–E, H, M, L.

Acquisition of data–M, L.

Analysis and interpretation of data–all authors.

Drafting of manuscript–D, S, M, L.

Critical revision of the manuscript for intellectual content–all authors.

Final approval of version to be published–all authors.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interests.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Michael G. DeGroote School of MedicineMcMaster UniversityHamiltonCanada
  2. 2.Division of General Surgery, Department of SurgeryMcMaster UniversityHamiltonCanada
  3. 3.Division of General Surgery, Department of SurgerySt. Joseph HealthcareHamiltonCanada
  4. 4.Division of General Surgery Department of Surgery, St. Joseph’s HealthcareMcMaster UniversityHamiltonCanada

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