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Stent Placement & Removal

Ureteral stents are soft, hollow, plastic tubes temporarily placed into the ureter to allow drainage around a kidney stone or to speed healing after kidney stone surgery. Stents may be placed in patients to help reduce pain from a stone, to allow drainage when there is, or when a stone is preventing a kidney from working properly.

During surgery, stents are placed by sliding them over a soft “guide wire” placed up the ureter, which is the tube draining the kidney. Stents can be removed two different ways. A string can be left attached to the end of the stent. This string comes out of the patient’s urethra, the tube where he or she urinates, and can later be used to pull on the stent and remove it.

In cases where a string is not left attached, a small camera called a cystoscope is inserted into the patient’s urethra and then advanced into the bladder, and the stent is grasped with an instrument and removed.

The area around the ureter and bladder is left raw and irritated by the stent. The result of this irritation is increased frequency of urination, both day and night, and also an increase in the urge to urinate.

In some, the urge to urinate is present most of the time, and leakage may result. The treatment for this is to remove the stent and give time for the bladder wall to heal, but this can't be done until the danger of the ureter swelling shut has passed (this varies from 2-21 days).

You may see some blood in your urine while the stent is in place and for a few days afterwards. This is not a cause for alarm, even if the urine was clear for a while. Get off your feet and drink lots of fluids until clearing occurs. If you start to pass clots or don't improve, call your physician.

Post-op Care

Your physical activity does not need to be restricted, but if you are very active you may notice blood in your urine. Cut back on your activity under these circumstances until the bleeding has stopped.

You should resume your pre-surgery medications unless the physician tells you not to. In addition, you will often be given an antibiotic to prevent infection. These should be taken as prescribed until they are finished. If you are having a reaction to one of the drugs, contact the doctor immediately.

It is important to keep your bowels regular during the post-operative period. Straining with bowel movements can cause you to bleed. A bowel movement every other day is reasonable. Use a mild laxative if needed, such as Milk of Magnesia or Dulcolax. If you are not having regular bowel movements despite taking laxatives, call the doctor’s office. Narcotics for pain can cause constipation, which should be alleviated with laxatives. If not, contact the office.

Call the doctor’s office promptly if you experience:

  • Severe burning or pain with urination that is not getting better
  • A fever over 100.5
  • Clots or heavy bleeding (more than small amounts of blood in urine, which is to be expected)
  • Inability to urinate
  • Hives, rash, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea, which may be a drug reaction

Following Up

You will need a follow-up appointment to monitor your progress. Call the doctor’s office to schedule an appointment within a day of your surgery. Usually the first appointment will be about 3 - 14 days after your surgery and your stent will probably be removed at this time. You may X-rays prior to your appointment, so plan to arrive a bit early.

Miami urologist Dr. Marvin Bondhus places and removes stents for patients with kidney stones from the Miami metro area. For a consultation, call (305) 661-9692 or request an appointment online.