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A Malecot catheter is a piece of medical equipment used in a range of procedures, from drainage to feeding and embryo transfer. The tube has either two or four wings on one end and can be inserted through the skin into different areas of the body. The procedure being performed and the particular use will determine where the catheter is placed.
There are different drainage procedures performed using Malecot catheters. One such procedure is part of a nephrostomy. A nephrostomy involves cutting a hole in the skin and inserting a Malecot catheter into the kidney. This allows urine to drain directly from the kidney into a bag attached to the other end of the catheter.
Kidney stones can also be passed by inserting a Malecot catheter directly into the urethra. The catheter will act as a stent that will allow the stone to pass safely. While the catheter is inserted, urine will also be drained.
A Malecot catheter is also used in a radical cystectomy, a procedure in which the bladder and nearby organs are removed, often to prevent the spread of cancer. The tube is placed through the abdomen to drain the urinary pouch that was surgically created to replace the bladder. Mucus is also flushed out with the catheter. The catheter is worn home after the physician gives the patient instructions on how to care for the tube. Removal usually happens about three weeks after surgery.
Another use for a Malecot catheter, or G-tube, is as a feeding tube. This G-tube is placed precisely in a patient’s abdomen. An incision is made in structure of the abdominal wall and the tube is slid into the stomach. The tube allows the patient to receive necessary nutrients and can be in place for a short time or permanently. The tube must always be clean so infection does not occur.
Malecot catheters also are used in embryo transfer. Women who have early stage cervical cancer can have a radical trachelectomy, which removes the cervix but leaves the uterus in place to preserve the possibility of pregnancy in the future. When the time comes to attempt a pregnancy, a Malecot catheter is inserted into the uterine cavity to help open the passage for the embryo transfer.
When and how the catheter is removed will depend on why the catheter was inserted. Care must be taken after the catheter is removed. There may be some physical discomfort for a time as the site heals, and the insertion area must be kept sterile and clean to reduce the risk of infection while healing.