What Is a Kidney Stone Stent?

by Anthony Carter on April 11, 2011


A kidney stone stent may also be referred to as a ureteric stent. It is a type of plastic tube that is passed between the bladder and the kidney in the ureter. The purpose of this tube is to make it easier for an individual to pass a kidney stone. This type of stent is only left in for a short period of time and so will later need to be removed; the usual length of time for this is six weeks although this can vary.

How a Kidney Stone Stent is Used?

This type of stent is coiled at both ends to ensure that it stays put within the kidney and bladder. It can be inserted in a patient either under a general anesthetic (where they will be asleep) or with a local anesthetic (where they will be awake).  The surgeon uses a special tool called a cystoscope; this is a device that allows them to see the urethra and performs other functions as well. Once the surgeon can see what they are doing they will then be able to insert the kidney stone stent.

How a Kidney Stent Works

A kidney stent works because it can make it easier for the individual to pass a kidney stone. This technique is usually offered when it believes that the individual just needs a little help to pass the stone; it is not a procedure that will be appropriate in all cases. Once the stent is in place then this means that urine can flow more freely because it gets rid of any obstruction. It is also hoped that by having the stent the kidney stone will be flushed out along with the urine. Sometimes a stent will be inserted after a kidney stone has been surgically removed. This is done in order to assist with the healing process.

The Problem with Kidney Stents

Kidney stents can work really well at helping people heal from kidney stones or even get rid of them without the need for surgery. There are some unwanted side effects of this type of procedure though, and one of these is that there can be a lot of discomfort from the stent. A lot of patients complain that they can fell the stent pulling or that there is quite a bit of pain. There may also be the urge to frequently go to the toilet. It may even be that the individual will be able to stay in certain positions while they have the stent insitu.

How is a Kidney Stent Removed?

The procedure for kidney stent removal is similar for insertion. If a stent is left in for too long it can cause complications such as infection. Once again the surgeon will use a cystoscope in order to guide their efforts. In some cases there will be a bit of soreness for a few days after the stent has been removed. The doctor will be able to prescribe some analgesia to help the patient deal with this pain.

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