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Ureteral Stent Placement

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Feb 6, 2023.

What do I 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 do I 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. If you are given local sedation, you may also be given IV sedation. IV sedation will help you relax during the procedure. 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.

What are the 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.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Further information

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