A kidney stent, which is medically referred to as a ureteric stent, is a hollow tube made of flexible plastic. The purpose of inserting such a tube between the kidney and the bladder is to tackle the issue of obstruction in the free flow of urine. Obstruction of urine may occur in the event of blockage of the ureter due to the presence of a kidney stone or a tumor. A stent could even be placed during the examination of the upper urinary tract using an endoscope for diagnosing and treating the problem of kidney stones. It is designed in such a way that it remains lodged and doesn't shift from its place. Each end of it is coiled. One end is coiled in the bladder while the other end coils in the kidney. Such a structure withstands bodily movements.
Procedure for Placement of the Stent
If the doctor feels that a stent needs to be placed, one would need to go through a specified procedure.
- General anesthetic is used so that one does not feel the pain during the procedure.
- Once one is on general anesthesia, a cystoscope, a special type of telescope, is used to get a view of your bladder and urethra.
- Once the surgeon gets a clear idea of where it can be placed, he/she inserts it carefully into the ureter. There are coils at both ends of the stent, so that it can be coiled around the kidney and bladder.
Though its placement is a measure that may be recommended when the flow of urine is obstructed due to a blocked ureter, certain complications have been associated with this procedure.
If a person is affected by a kidney problem, there is a risk of him/her developing a urinary tract infection. Under such circumstances, he/she is likely to develop the symptoms such as fever, pain in the region of the bladder or kidney, or sensation of burning when passing urine. In such a case, antibiotics are given so as to treat the infection.
Usually, it does not hinder normal activities, but sometimes the affected person may experience some discomfort. He/she may feel the presence of the stent.
Sometimes, stents come with a thread that can be pulled for their removal. This thread passes through the urethra. At times, it may irritate the urethra. If the thread is pulled by mistake, it may cause the tube to move from its position.
The affected person may feel a frequent urge to pass urine. Urinary urgency, frequent urination, presence of traces of blood in urine, and a sense of incomplete voiding of the bladder could be faced by most people who get stents.
It is important that one drinks a lot of water (at least 2 liters every day), if he/she gets a stent. Water helps in reducing the risks associated with infections, besides helping in treating kidney stones. If there is extreme pain, one can take painkillers, however, only after consulting a professional.
Usually a stent is placed for about six weeks, after which it is removed. If the underlying cause or reason behind its placement has been resolved, it is removed within the specified period of time. The affected person is administered local or general anesthesia, so the chances of pain during its removal is less. Nevertheless, there are times when people have experienced pain.
Though its placement is a temporary measure and it can be removed once the ureter has healed, it can give rise to certain complications. If the doctor has suggested its placement, one should make sure to find out all about the possible complications, besides the activities which one can and can't do. If it is causing a lot of discomfort, do consult a doctor immediately.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.