What is a nephrostomy?

Ureters, the tubes that carry urine from your kidneys to your bladder, can become blocked as a result of kidney stones or other serious health conditions. When one or both of your ureters are blocked, you may need a nephrostomy tube to help your kidneys get rid of urine properly.

A nephrostomy is an opening created between your kidney and your skin. Ureteral stenting and nephrostomy procedures can help restore the flow of urine through blocked ureters. Depending on the severity of your condition, the thin, plastic tube can drain directly from your kidneys to a drainage bag outside your body, or it can go from your kidneys to your bladder.

How are ureteral stenting and nephrostomy performed?

A ureteral stent is a thin, flexible tube that can be threaded into your ureter and directed to your bladder so urine can flow as it is supposed to. Typically, an interventional radiologist who is highly trained in these types of procedures performs the stenting with the assistance of fluoroscopy, or guided X-ray imaging.

The stent is anywhere from 10 to 15 inches long and very thin. One of the interventional radiologists at Excel Medical Imaging inserts the stent during a minimally invasive procedure. This is often done as an outpatient procedure.

Your radiologist uses a catheter and a guide wire to insert the ureteral stent into your ureter. The catheter may stay in place until the blockage in your ureter is cleared. Additionally, the nephrostomy catheter stays connected between your kidney and an external drainage bag to collect urine.

Once your ureter is functioning properly again with the stent in place, the nephrostomy catheter can be removed.

What are the risks associated with nephrostomy procedures?

Even though the nephrostomy and ureteral stenting procedures are minimally invasive, as with any medical procedure in which your skin is punctured, there is a risk of infection. In rare situations, your bladder could go into spasm upon receiving the ureteral stent, but this can be treated with medication.

There is a slight risk of damage to your organs surrounding the area of the catheter insertion, but the advanced technology of fluoroscopy and other methods of guided imaging, along with the expertise of the interventional radiologists at Excel Medical Imaging, minimizes this risk as well.

Call or schedule an appointment online to learn more about the advantages of nephrostomy through guided medical imaging.