In medicine, a catheter is a tube that can be inserted into a body cavity, duct, or vessel. Catheters . In most uses, a catheter is a thin, flexible tube ("soft" catheter), though in some uses, it is a larger, solid ("hard") catheter. A catheter left inside the body, either temporarily or permanently, may be referred to as an indwelling catheter. A permanently inserted catheter may be referred to as a permcath.