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What is a Ureteral Stent?
Your healthcare provider has requested that you undergo the placement of a ureteral stent. It has been determined that your ureter (small tube that carries urine from the kidney to the bladder) is obstructed. A flexible tube (stent) is placed into the ureter to restore the flow of urine.
How Should I Prepare?
You should not eat or drink anything for six hours prior to your procedure. You may take your medications as directed. Speak to your doctor if you need to adjust your insulin dosing. Prior to your procedure, you should make sure all medications and allergies are updated. If you are on a blood thinner you may be requested to stop that medication for a period of time. You will want to arrange for a ride home from a responsible adult afterwards should you require sedation.
How is the Procedure Performed?
The procedure will be performed by an interventional radiologist, who is a physician with specific training in image-guided procedures. The procedure will be performed under fluoroscopy (x-ray). Intravenous medications may be given to make you more comfortable and relaxed. This is called conscious sedation. The procedure starts by cleaning the skin with sterilizing solution and injecting numbing medicine into the skin. Using imaging guidance, a needle will be placed into the kidney and x-ray dye will be injected so that the ureter may be visualized. A small wire is inserted into the ureter, and the stent is placed over this wire and into position. A separate external drain (called a nephrostomy tube) leading from the kidney to the skin is usually left in place for at least one day. You will return to Interventional Radiology for removal of the external drain.
What should I expect after the procedure?
Following the procedure, you will be monitored for a period of time for any complications. You should be able to resume normal activities within a few days. These stents are temporary and do need to be exchanged every couple of months or removed when no longer needed. Both exchange and removal are usually performed by a urologist.