Ureteral Stent

A ureteral stent is a soft plastic tube with multiple holes. The stent is inserted into a ureter to help drain urine from the kidney into the bladder. The tube has a coil on each end to keep it from falling out. One end stays in the kidney. The other end stays in the bladder. A stent cannot be seen from the outside. Usually it does not keep you from going about normal routines.

A ureteral stent is used to bypass a blockage in your kidney or ureter. This blockage can be caused by kidney stones, scar tissue, pregnancy, or other causes. It can also be used during treatment to remove a kidney stone or to let a ureter heal after surgery. The stent allows urine to drain from the kidney into the bladder. It is most often taken out after the blockage has been removed or the ureter has healed. If a stent is needed for a long time, it will be changed every few months.

INSERTING THE STENT

Your stent is put in by a urologist. This is a medical doctor trained for treating genitourinary (kidney, ureter and bladder) problems. Before your stent is put in, your caregiver may order x-rays or other imaging tests of your kidneys and ureters. The stent is inserted in a hospital or same day surgical center. You can anticipate going home the same day.

PROCEDURE

  • A special x-ray machine called a fluoroscope is used to guide the insertion of your stent. This allows your doctor to make sure the stent is in the correct place.

  • First you are given anesthesia to keep you comfortable.

  • Then your doctor inserts a special lighted instrument called a cystoscope into your bladder. This allows your doctor to see the opening to the ureter.

  • A thin wire is carefully threaded into the bladder and up the ureter. The stent is inserted over the wire and the wire is then removed.

HOME CARE INSTRUCTIONS

  • While the stent is in place, you may feel some discomfort. Certain movements may trigger pain or a feeling that you need to urinate. Your caregiver may give you pain medication. Only take over-the-counter or prescription medicines for pain, discomfort, or fever as directed by your caregiver. Do not take aspirin as this can make bleeding worse.

  • You may be given medications to prevent infection or bladder spasms. Be sure to take all medications as directed.

  • Drink plenty of fluids.

  • You may have small amounts of bleeding causing your urine to be slightly red. This is nothing to be concerned about.

REMOVAL OF THE STENT

Your stent is left in until the blockage is resolved. This may take two weeks or longer. Before the stent is removed, you may have an x-ray make sure the ureter is open. The stent can be removed by your caregiver in the office. Medications may be given for comfort. Be sure to keep all follow-up appointments so your caregiver can check that you are healing properly.

SEEK IMMEDIATE MEDICAL CARE IF:

  • Your urine is dark red or has blood clots.

  • You are incontinent (leaking urine).

  • You have an oral temperature above 102° F (38.9° C), chills, nausea (feeling sick to your stomach), or vomiting.

  • Your pain is not relieved by pain medication. Do not take aspirin as this can make bleeding worse.

  • The end of the stent comes out of the urethra.