Cystoscopy, Ureteral Stent Placement is most commonly performed in the setting of either a ureteral or kidney stone. The kidneys are organs in the body which filter salts and other waste products from the blood and place them into the urine. The ureters are tubes which transport the urine from the kidneys to the bladder. Kidney stones may form and block urine production from either kidney. A stone may fail to pass and remain either within the kidney, or in the upper, middle, or lower portion of the ureter. Occasionally, a stone may form in the bladder.
Cystoscopy, Ureteral Stent Placement is performed in conjunction with endoscopic procedures to treat kidney or ureteral stones. If the stone is in the lower part of the ureter, removal of the stone may cause the ureter to temporarily swell shut. Placement of the stent allows the urine flow to bypass this swelling. If the stone is in the kidney, a ureteral stent may be placed in advance of ESWL (extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy-blasting the stone with sound waves, performed at a separate center).
Where does the stent stay? The ureteral stent is placed in the ureter such that one end stays in the bladder and the other stays in the kidney. This allows urine to flow without blockage into the bladder.The stent is completely internal and does not show.
Will I feel the stent inside me? In most cases, patients do not feel the stent; however, when they passurine, they may feel “back pressure” transmitted along the stent from the bladder into the kidney. This discomfort is similar to that experienced when trying to pass a kidney stone. Less commonly, the ureter may spasm or contract in response to the presence of the tube. This may cause discomfort, but usually subsides after a few days.
Note: Rarely, we are unable to get the stent past the obstruction and up to the kidney. In these cases, we usually ask an interventional radiologist to pass a tube directly through your skin into the kidney. This is called a percutaneous nephrostomy.
How do I get the stent out? Ureteral stents are most commonly removed in our office (during cystoscopy) about 2 weeks after your procedure.
Warning: Stents are designed to stay no longer than 6-8 weeks and should be replaced if indwelling beyond 6 weeks. Longer periods of time risk complications such as encrustation of the stent by stone, possibly requiring surgery or additional procedures.