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Urethral catheterization is a routine medical procedure that facilitates direct drainage of the urinary bladder. It may be used for diagnostic purposes (to help determine the etiology of various genitourinary conditions) or therapeutically (to relieve urinary retention, instill medication, or provide irrigation). Catheters may be inserted as an in-and-out procedure for immediate drainage, left in with a self-retaining device for short-term drainage (eg, during surgery), or left indwelling for long-term drainage for patients with chronic urinary retention. Patients of all ages may require urethral catheterization, but patients who are elderly or chronically ill are more likely to require indwelling catheters, which carry their own independent risks.