Treatments

Ureteral Stents

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Basic Facts


    • Ureteral stents, narrow flexible tubes that usually have coils on both ends, are inserted into the ureter to allow urine to flow past any blockages in the ureter.
    • These devices are sometimes inserted following a surgical procedure to help the ureter heal or to allow passage of fragments of stones following surgery for kidney or ureteral stones.
    • Stents may be left in place for days or weeks, or, in special cases, may be left in longer and replaced every 3 months.

Ureteral stents are small, flexible tube devices, with or without coils at their ends, which can be fitted between the kidney and bladder to hold the ureter open. Ureteral stents are used to treat blockages in the ureter or to help the ureter heal following surgery. Stents are approximately 9.5 to 12 inches long.

PRE-TREATMENT GUIDELINES

In most cases, the physician will instruct the patient to avoid eating anything after midnight the night before the procedure. A physician will provide the patient with detailed instructions.

WHAT TO EXPECT

After inserting a cystoscope into the urethra, the physician inserts the stent through the cystoscope, using an x ray to ensure proper placement. The procedure is performed under general anesthesia and usually takes 1 hour.

Usually stents are kept in place a few weeks to few months, until an obstruction has passed or the ureter has healed from a surgical procedure. If a stent remains in place permanently, it should be replaced every 3 to 4 months.

POSSIBLE COMPLICATIONS

Complications from stent placement can include:

    • Hematuria;
    • Bladder irritation;
    • Bladder spasms;
    • Chronic pain;
    • Hemorrhage;
    • Urinary tract infection;
    • Laceration of the renal pelvis; and
    • Foreign bodies, such as kidney stones, not being ejected.


The patient should contact his or her physician if any of the following occur:

    • Severe pain related to the stent;
    • Symptoms of a urinary tract infection; and
    • Increased blood in the urine.


POST-TREATMENT GUIDELINES

If the stent is left in place too long, calcium deposits may collect on it. Therefore, the patient should return for regular checkups with a urologist after stent placement.

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