Characterisation of the internal and external surfaces of four types of Foley catheter using SEM and profilometry


Unfortunately the use of Foley catheters for long-term catheterisation is frequently associated with complications such as infection and encrustation. This study investigated whether a link could exist between the surface properties of the catheters and the problems that can develop. The internal and external surfaces of four different types of urinary catheter were examined. Three latex devices coated with either PTFE or hydrogel or surface treated with silicone were investigated. In addition, an all-silicone device was examined. The surfaces of the all-silicone catheters were relatively smooth and featureless. In contrast, the external surfaces of each of the latex devices were ‘paved’ in nature. The internal surfaces of latex based devices produced by different manufacturers showed distinct differences with evidence of inorganic inclusions on the internal surfaces of two of the catheter types. These findings may be significant in the context of catheter infection and encrustation.

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Correspondence to I. G. Turner.

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Lawrence, E.L., Turner, I.G. Characterisation of the internal and external surfaces of four types of Foley catheter using SEM and profilometry. J Mater Sci: Mater Med 17, 1421–1431 (2006).

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  • Catheter
  • PTFE
  • External Surface
  • Internal Surface
  • Foley Catheter