A Ureteral Stent is a flexible, thin hollow tube that is placed in the ureter to allow urine to drain from the kidney to the bladder. The stent is usually five to 12 inches long. Stents are placed when there is a blockage in the ureter and the flow of urine is obstructed. This is done as an outpatient procedure.
You are taken to the cystoscopy room and placed on a special table. You are given anesthesia so that you’re sleeping during the procedure. A cystoscope, which is a long thin hollow tube with a camera on the end, is passed up the urethra. The stent is passed the same way and is left in place. It reaches from the kidney, down the ureter and into the bladder.
There are various medical conditions in which a ureteral stent would be placed. A common condition is when a kidney stone moves out of the kidney and toward the bladder; it can obstruct the ureter and cause severe pain to the patient. At that time, a urologist may place a stent to bypass the stone and allow urine to flow past and alleviate the patient’s acute pain.
Another condition is called hydronephrosis. This is when the kidney is swollen and is not draining urine well. The stent is placed to allow the urine to drain from the kidney to the bladder, bypassing any obstruction.
The stent can stay in place for a few days or up to several months, depending on the indication for which it was placed.
Possible Side Effects of Stents
- Hematuria or blood in the urine. This can be tea-colored, pink or bright red; you may even notice some clots. The blood may come and go while you have the stent; this is normal. If you have bright red blood that is very thick and lasts most of the day, you may need to contact the office and discuss this with your provider.
- Pain. There can be flank, side or back pain due to the stent. It may be worse with movement. There are medications that can help you with pain management.
- Urinary urgency and frequency. You may notice you have to urinate very quickly and very often. There are medications to alleviate these symptoms; please discuss this with your provider.
- Burning with urination. You may experience this with a stent. Medications can help with this symptom.
You should call your physician’s office if you experience either of these symptoms
- Fever of 101.5 or greater
- Constant urine leakage after the stent has been placed