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Ureteral Stent Placement
What you need to know about ureteral stent placement:
Ureteral stent placement is a procedure to open a blocked or narrow ureter. The ureter is the tube that carries urine from your kidney into your bladder. A stent is a thin hollow plastic tube used to hold your ureter open and allow urine to flow. The stent may stay in for several weeks. Long-term stents will stay in longer and need to be replaced within a certain period of time.
How to prepare for ureteral stent placement:
Your healthcare provider will talk to you about how to prepare for this procedure. He or she may tell you not to eat or drink anything after midnight on the day of your procedure. Your provider will tell you what medicines to take or not take on the day of your procedure. You may be given an antibiotic through your IV to help prevent a bacterial infection. Arrange for a ride home after your procedure if you will have general anesthesia during this procedure.
What will happen during ureteral stent placement:
- You may be given general anesthesia to keep you asleep and free from pain during the procedure. You may instead be given local anesthesia to numb the urethra. With local anesthesia, you may still feel pressure or pushing during the procedure, but you should not feel any pain. Your healthcare provider will use x-rays and contrast liquid to find the area where the stent needs to be placed.
- A cystoscope (small tube with a light and camera on the end) will be placed into your bladder through your urethra. The urethra is the tube that urine flows through when you urinate. A wire will be put through the scope into your ureter and moved close to your kidney. The stent will be pushed over the wire into your ureter. The wire is used to guide the stent. It will be removed when the stent is in place. A string that is attached to the end of the stent may be left hanging down through the urethra and out of the body. This string may be used to remove the stent later on.
What will happen after ureteral stent placement:
You may have pain when you urinate, or around your bladder or kidney. You may also need to urinate more frequently than normal, or feel a sudden, urgent need to urinate. You may have blood or brown discharge from your urethra for 48 to 72 hours. You may see blood in your urine. These symptoms are common and should get better with time.
Risks of ureteral stent placement:
Your ureter may be damaged during the procedure and you will need surgery to fix it. You may need surgery if the stent cannot be put in safely. The stent may become blocked or move out of place. If the stent remains in place for a long time, minerals and bacteria may grow over it. This can cause a blockage or a bladder infection.
Seek care immediately if:
- You urinate very little or not at all.
- You have severe pain in your abdomen, even after you take medicine.
- You have heavy bleeding from your urethra.
- You see large blood clots in your urine, or your urine is bright red.
Contact your healthcare provider or urologist if:
- You have a fever or chills.
- You feel like you need to urinate very often.
- Your symptoms get worse, or you develop new symptoms.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
You may need any of the following:
- Acetaminophen decreases pain and fever. It is available without a doctor's order. Ask how much to take and how often to take it. Follow directions. Read the labels of all other medicines you are using to see if they also contain acetaminophen, or ask your doctor or pharmacist. Acetaminophen can cause liver damage if not taken correctly. Do not use more than 4 grams (4,000 milligrams) total of acetaminophen in one day.
- Prescription pain medicine may be given. Ask your healthcare provider how to take this medicine safely. Some prescription pain medicines contain acetaminophen. Do not take other medicines that contain acetaminophen without talking to your healthcare provider. Too much acetaminophen may cause liver damage. Prescription pain medicine may cause constipation. Ask your healthcare provider how to prevent or treat constipation.
- Antibiotics help prevent or treat bacterial infections. Your healthcare provider may prescribe these for you while you have a ureteral stent.
- Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him or her if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.
- Drink liquids as directed. Liquids will help flush your urinary tract and prevent infection. Ask your healthcare provider how much liquid to drink each day and which liquids are best for you.
- Ask when you can return to daily activities. You may be able to return to normal activities the day after your stent placement.
Follow up with your urologist as directed:
You will need regular follow-up visits with your urologist as long as you have a stent. He or she will check to make sure the stent is working properly. He or she will remove your temporary stent in several weeks. Your provider may do urine cultures to check for infection. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
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