Ureteral Stenting and Nephrostomy Intervention

What is it?

Ureters are long, narrow tubes that transport urine from the kidneys to the bladder.

If these become blocked, your doctor might insert stents (thin, flexible tubes) utilizing ultrasound imaging guidance. These stents are used to restore normal urine flow to the bladder.

If stents cannot be placed, your doctor may perform a nephrostomy procedure which involves the placement of a tube into your kidney, through the skin on your back. Nephrostomy is conducted using local anesthetic and X-ray or ultrasound guidance. Nephrostomy uses a tube to drain urine into an external storage bag. The catheter is removed once the blockage is gone and proper urine flow is restored.

What is it for?

To unblock ureters that may become obstructed by kidney stones, tumors, infections or blood clots.

How to prepare

  • You may have a blood test done to see how well your kidneys are working and if your blood clots normally
  • Speak with your doctor about your medical history, medications you are taking and any allergies you have
  • You will be given instructions about what to eat and drink prior to the procedure
  • You should plan to have a family member or friend drive you home after the procedure


  • Infection
  • Bleeding
  • Damage to organs near the kidney
  • Allergic reaction to contrast material

What happens during?

  • This is typically done as an outpatient procedure and takes approximately 30 minutes
  • You will receive a sedative through an I.V. line
  • X-rays or ultrasound imaging will be used to locate your kidney
  • A needle is inserted through the skin into the kidney
  • In a ureteral stent placement, guide wire is inserted into the ureter. The stent is placed over the guide wire and placed in a permanent position in the ureter. With the stent in place, the guide wire may be removed.
  • In a nephrostomy, a catheter is inserted into the kidney using a guide wire. The catheter remains in position until the blockage goes away. The catheter is connected to a bag outside your body.

What happens after?

  • You’ll be monitored in the recovery room until you are completely awake and ready to go home
  • If a nephrostomy was performed, you’ll be instructed on how to empty and care for the drainage bag before leaving the hospital
  • You should be able to resume full activity after several days

Side effects

Upon returning home, call your doctor if you have:

  • Spasms of the bladder after the placement of the ureteral stent. The spasms can be treated with medicine.
  • A fever

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