Blocked Urinary Tract

Nephrostomy Tube and Ureteral Stent Placement

Preventing kidney damage in the presence of a blocked urinary tract

Most people have two kidneys, which are responsible for removing water, waste, and certain toxins from the blood.

The waste elements travel from the kidneys to the bladder through the ureter before ultimately leaving the body as urine.

If a kidney is damaged, diseased, or the ureter is blocked, this waste will back up.

An interventional radiologist may be called to help alleviate the backup.

Nephrostomy Tube

A nephrostomy tube, sometimes abbreviated to “neph” tube, is a small tube that can be inserted into the kidney to drain urine that is blocked from traveling to the bladder.

The tubing is connected to a bag that collects the urine outside of the body and can be emptied as needed.

Patients should expect to have a neph tube in place for varying lengths of time, depending on their condition.

Ureteral Stent Placement

Urine may fail to reach the bladder from the kidney because of a blocked ureter.

A stent is a woven mesh cylinder that supports the ureter throughout its entire length, from kidney to bladder.

The stent ensures the passageway remains opened for urine to flow.

Patients should expect to have a ureteral stent in place for varying lengths of time, depending on their condition.

Both nephrostomy tube and ureteral stent placement are typically done as outpatient procedures.

Anesthesia is not typically used, though patients are often given medication through an IV to help with anxiety and to keep the patient relaxed during the procedure.

This is called conscious sedation.

Local anesthetic will also be used to numb the skin where the interventional radiologist will be entering the body.


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Additional Online Resources:
The Interventional Initiative
Society of Interventional Radiology
Radiology Info for Patients

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