What can I expect during stent removal?

A urinary stent may be used temporarily for kidney stones or other bladder obstructions.

Ureteral stents are 9-12 inch (24-30 cm) pieces of sterile plastic tubing used to relieve urinary tract obstructions or placed temporarily during ureter surgery. Most of the time, the patient will be under general anesthesia when the stent is inserted; during stent removal, a local anesthetic may be used. After being prepared to remove the stent, the doctor may thread a cystoscope down the urethra until it reaches the stent, grasp it, and pull it out with constant force. Some stents have a wire that remains outside the body, making a cystoscope unnecessary. After the stent is removed, you may experience burning when urinating or blood in your urine; antibiotics may be prescribed.

After being prepared for the stent removal, the doctor may pass a cystoscope through the urethra until it reaches the stent.

Once the obstruction has cleared or the ureters have healed, you will return to the doctor for the stent to be removed. Before the procedure, you may be asked to put on a hospital gown or undress from the waist down. You may be instructed to lie on a procedure table with your knees bent and slightly apart. The lower part of the body will be covered with a sterile sheet.

The patient will likely be under general anesthesia during the stent removal.

Once in position, the doctor will use a needleless syringe to pass the local anesthetic into the urinary tract. Once anesthetized, the area around the urethra will be cleaned. If the stent does not have a wire, the cystoscope is inserted. When the stent is reached, the doctor grasps it with a special tool that has been advanced through the cystoscope and then slowly pulls it out. You may feel slow, steady pressure as the stent is removed.

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A person should drink two full glasses of water every hour for two hours after the stent is removed.

If your renal stent has a wire attached, the preparation for removing the stent is the same as when a cystoscope is used. After preparing for stent removal, the doctor or nurse will pull the wire to remove the stent; no cystoscope is needed. You may feel some pressure or force when the stent is removed.

The entire outpatient procedure can take 15 to 20 minutes or less. No hospital stay is required for routine stent removal. During the first 24 hours after the procedure, you may experience burning and/or a small amount of blood when you urinate. Your doctor may recommend drinking two full glasses of water every hour for the first two hours after the procedure to help reduce side effects. You may also be prescribed antibiotics to prevent infections.

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