What is a Kidney Stone Stent?

A kidney stone stent is inserted between the kidneys and bladder to help a person pass a kidney stone.

A kidney stone stent is a flexible plastic tube inserted between a kidney and bladder to facilitate the passage of a kidney stone. Also known simply as a stent, a kidney stone stent is simply one of many treatment options that may be considered for kidney stones. If a physician recommends a stent for a patient, he must be able to estimate how long the stent will remain and he must articulate a plan for removing the stent.

Kidney stones next to a ruler to show size.

When a kidney stone stent is placed, the patient may receive general or local anesthesia, depending on the situation. A cystoscope is inserted into the urinary tract to allow the doctor, usually a urologist, to see, and the stent is carefully threaded into the ureter and left in place. J-shaped coils or hooks at each end of the stent hold it in place so it cannot float once it is inserted. As a general rule, a kidney stone stent can be left in place for up to six weeks, at which point it must be removed.

A stent is a support device inserted into the body.

Typically, a stent is inserted when it seems possible for a patient to pass a kidney stone, with a little help. The stent helps to drain urine from the kidneys into the bladder, clearing any obstructions and hopefully bringing stones along with it. Stents may also be inserted after cystoscopy or surgical removal of a kidney stone to ensure that the urine drains properly for a few days or weeks while the ureter has a chance to heal. If the stent is left on for too long, it can develop deposits of material that can cause infection or obstruction of the ureter.

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A urinalysis may be performed to detect kidney stones.

One of the most important things you should know about a kidney stone stent is that it can be extremely painful. This varies depending on the patient, but many people report a pulling or tugging sensation and a constant need to urinate. The stent can become painful or irritating during exercise sessions or early in the morning, and certain body positions can be intolerable with a stent in place because they put too much pressure on the stent. Some patients have expressed unhappiness because they have not been adequately alerted to the difficulties involved in using a stent, and it is important to discuss specific issues, such as exercise routines, with a physician before having a kidney stone stent in place.

The kidneys play a crucial role in keeping the blood clean and chemically balanced.

During stent removal, the patient is usually placed under local anesthesia while the doctor visualizes the area and carefully removes the stent. Patients may experience some pain and irritability for several days after a kidney stone stent is removed, as their ureters heal.

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