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Stenting of Ureter

What is a ureteric stent?

A stent is a hollow tube that is placed into the ureter from the renal pelvis to the bladder. It allows urine to flow from the kidney to the bladder.

What is the stent used for?

Indications of ureteric stenting includes:

  • Relieve ureteric obstruction from stones, cancer or scar tissue, by allowing urine to drain though the stent
  • Promote healing of the ureter by providing an internal scaffold after surgery on the ureter
  • Assist dilatation of the ureter to allow instrumentation of the ureter

Is it possible for the stent to fall out?

The ureteric stent is coiled on each end to keep it in the appropriate place. The upper end lies in the kidney, the lower end lies in the bladder. It is possible, on rare occasions, for the stent to slip out the urethra or migrate up into the kidney.

Is it possible for the stent to move inside?

The stent is flexible, so when the body bends the stent will move with the body.

How long will I have the stent for?

The stent is left for one weeks following stone surgery. It is left for 4-6 weeks after ureteric surgery to promote healing. Some patients have a long-term stent, these stents need to be changed every 3-6 months to prevent stent encrustation with stones.

What will happen if the stent is not removed?

It is vital to keep your appointment to have the stent removed or changed when scheduled by your doctor. Stents will begin to form stones over them over time in a process called stent encrustation. Eventually stent encrustation will accumulate and will make the stent very difficult to remove and can cause permanent kidney loss or damage.

What are the side effects of having a stent?

  • Blood in the urine – it is common for patients to have blood intermittently in the urine with the stent, usually it is the most severe in the first few days after surgery but it can persist for as long as the stent is still in place
  • Frequency and urgency – the lower end of the stent is coiled in the bladder, this causes bladder irritation and lead to frequent urination and difficulties postponing urination
  • Pain – it is common to have pains in the flank during urination because urine is refluxed back up into the kidney through the stent. A minority of patients have pain all the time due to inflammation and the irritation caused by the stent to the bladder and kidney.