Percutaneous Nephrostomy

Care After

A percutaneous nephrostomy tube is a hollow flexible tube placed into the kidney. The tube is placed on the right or left side of your lower back. These discharge instructions provide you with general information on caring for yourself after you leave the hospital. Your doctor may also give you specific instructions. While your treatment has been planned according to the most current medical practices available, unavoidable complications occasionally occur. If you have any problems or questions after discharge, call your doctor, radiologist, or caregiver.


  • You may resume your normal diet.

  • Drink plenty of fluids (6-8 glasses a day).

  • Eat a well balanced diet. Daily portions of food from the meat/protein, milk/dairy, vegetable and fruit, and bread/grains groups are necessary for your health.


  • You may shower or tub bathe unless otherwise instructed by your doctor or caregiver.

  • If you shower, tape a plastic covering over the nephrostomy tube dressing.

  • If you prefer to tub bathe, tape a plastic covering over the dressing and keep the level of bath water below the dressing.


  • Mild back discomfort on the side of the tube placement may occur for the first 24 hours.

  • Only take over-the-counter or prescription medicines for pain, discomfort, or fever as directed by your caregiver.

  • If pain is not relieved or becomes more severe, notify your caregiver or the radiologist.


If you feel feverish or have shaking chills, take your temperature. If it is 102° F (38.9° C) or above, call your caregiver.


  • Your nephrostomy tube is connected to a leg bag or bedside drainage bag. Always keep the tubing, the leg bag, or the bedside drainage bags below the level of the kidney so that the urine drains freely.

  • During the day, if you are connecting the nephrostomy tube to a leg bag, be sure there are no kinks in the tubing and that the urine is draining freely.

  • At night, you may want to connect the nephrostomy tube or the leg bag to a larger bedside drainage bag.


Change the dressing as often as directed by your caregiver or if it becomes wet.


You will need:

  • Mild soap and water.

  • 4 x 4 split drain sponges.

  • Paper tape.


  • Wash hands well with soap and water.

  • Gently remove the tapes and dressing from around the nephrostomy tube. Be careful not to pull on the tube while removing the dressing.

  • Wash the skin around the tube, rinse well and dry.

  • Place two split drain sponges in and around the tube exit site.

  • Place tape in picture frame around edge of dressing.

  • Secure the nephrostomy tubing. Remember to make certain that the nephrostomy tube does not kink or become pinched closed.

Note: Every three weeks, replace the leg bag, drainage bag, and any extension tubing connected to your nephrostomy tube. Your caregiver will explain how to change the drainage bag and extension tubing.


  • You have a fever or chills.

  • You have abdominal Pain during the first week.

  • You have a new appearance of blood in urine.

  • You have back pain, redness, swelling, or drainage at the tube insertion site.

  • You have decreased urine output.

  • Your nephrostomy tube comes out.