Thursday, May 28, 2015

Clean intermittent self-catheterization

Table of Contents


Intermittent catheterization is the temporary placement of a catheter (tube) to remove urine from the body. This is usually done by placing the catheter through the urethra (the tube that leads from the bladder to the outside opening) to empty the bladder.

Alternative Names

Self-catheterization; CISC; CIC; Intermittent catheterization



Some people may need a catheter occasionally. Intermittent catheterization may be necessary for:

  • Anyone who is unable to properly empty the bladder
  • People with nervous system (neurological) disorders
  • Women who have had certain gynecological surgeries

The goal of intermittent catheterization is to:

  • Completely empty the bladder
  • Prevent further bladder or kidney damage
  • Prevent urinary tract infections

Most people can learn how to perform this procedure.

To perform clean intermittent self-catheterization (CISC), the person must learn the basic location of the important parts of the urinary system.

The person must also be physically able to reach the urethra, and to move the equipment as necessary. People who are unable to see the urethra may be taught how to feel for the proper location of the urethral opening.

Catheters that are used for CISC are slightly different from the catheters used for long-term catheterization. A long-term catheter is held in place by a balloon. CISC catheters do not have this balloon.

CISC catheters may be made of a clear plastic or a softer rubber material. These catheters also come in a variety of sizes.

Although some catheters are disposable, some CISC catheters may be reused.


1. Assemble all equipment: catheter, lubricant, drainage receptacle (container).

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Review Date: 09/03/2010
Reviewed By: Jennifer K. Mannheim, ARNP, Medical Staff, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health, Seattle Children's Hospital; Scott Miller, MD, Urologist in private practice in Atlanta, Georgia. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

A.D.A.M., Inc. is accredited by URAC, also known as the American Accreditation HealthCare Commission (