Kidney Stone Institute

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Kidney Stone Institute

Stents & Nephrostomy Tubes

About stents

Stents are soft plastic tubes that help the kidney drain urine to the bladder. They may be inserted either before treatment (when there is a blockage caused by stones) or after treatment (until swelling goes down or stone fragments pass).

What to expect

A stent may cause some discomfort, including:

  • The need to urinate suddenly (urgency)
  • The need to urinate often (frequency)
  • Pain during urination (dysuria)
  • Dull backache, which may get worse during urination
  • Blood stained urine, like fruit punch, and occasional clots, which may increase with physical activity

What you can do to feel better

  • Take painkillers as prescribed and required
  • Bladder relaxing drugs, such as Detrol or Ditropan, may be helpful in some circumstances
  • Take a warm bath
  • Understand that the stent is necessary and is only temporary

You should not expect

  • Fever
  • Increasing back pain
  • Large amounts of blood in the urine
  • Leakage of urine (incontinence)

Stent removal

Stents are usually removed in a brief procedure in the urologist's office.

It is your responsibility to make sure your stent is removed:
Stents that remain in too long can become encrusted. If this happens, you may require a surgical procedure to remove the stent and encrustations. Except in very select circumstances, stents should never be in the body for longer than three months.

What to expect after the stent is removed

  • Brief increase in back pain about an hour after stent removal as the kidney fills before it starts to drain
  • Bladder symptoms disappear within 24 to 48 hours
  • Blood in urine disappears within 2 to 4 days

About nephrostomy tubes

A nephrostomy tube is a soft plastic tube that is inserted though the back and into the kidney. It ensures that the kidney is draining urine well. Nephrostomy tubes are commonly used for complex kidney stones. They may be inserted either before treatment because of blockage by stones, or after treatment until swelling goes down or until stones are removed by further surgery.

What to expect

If you have a nephrostomy tube, you may experience:

  • Dull backache, which may get worse during urination
  • Blood stained urine (like fruit punch) and occasional clots, which may increase with physical activity
  • Irritation at the insertion site
  • Leakage of small amounts of urine around tube

You should not expect

  • Fever may be a sign of an obstructed tube. You should contact your urologist immediately.
  • Increasing back pain may be a sign of an obstructed tube and you should contact your urologist
  • Large amounts of urine leaking around the tube may be a sign of an obstruction and you should contact your urologist
  • Large amounts of blood in the urine
  • Redness spreading away from the incision site may be a sign of skin infection.

After the tube is removed

  • Urine may leak out the back for 1 to 2 days after the nephrostomy tube is removed. If it lasts longer, you should contact your urologist.
  • Blood in the urine usually disappears within 2 to 4 days.

Contact Kidney Stone Institute

A doctor's referral is not required to make an appointment.

651-326-3830
1-888-326-3830 (toll-free)

Hours

Monday through Friday, 8 am to 4:30 pm
Outside of these hours, you can call us and speak with a registered nurse who will review your symptoms and make recommendations to help you get appropriate care.