Ureteral Stent Placement
(Ureteral Stenting; Uretic Stent)
by Michael Jubinville, MPH
Ureteral stent placement is a surgery to place a soft flexible plastic tube called a stent in the ureter. The ureters are long tubes that allow urine to pass from the kidneys to the bladder. A ureteral stent keeps the ureter open if it is narrowed or blocked. It can also be used to continue urine flow if the ureter is damaged while the damaged ureter heals.
Reasons for Procedure TOP
A narrowed or blocked ureter makes it difficult for urine to drain out of the kidney. This prevents the kidneys from working properly. A backup of urine in the kidney can lead to serious damage and illness.
This procedure may be done because of:
Possible Complications TOP
Problems from the procedure are rare, but all procedures have some risk. Your doctor will review potential problems, like:
Before your procedure, talk to your doctor about ways to manage factors that may increase your risk of complications such as:
What to Expect TOP
Prior to Procedure
Leading up to the procedure:
The type of anesthesia will depend on your comfort levels and overall health. Options include:
Description of the Procedure TOP
Special imaging tools may be used to help guide the stent to the appropriate location. A needle will be used to inject a special contrast material through the skin and into the kidneys. The contrast material will make the kidneys and ureter visible on image screen. This will help the doctor guide the stent to the appropriate place.
A cystoscope is a small flexible tube that can pass through the opening where urine passes out of the body, into a tube called the urethra, and then into the bladder. The doctor can pass the stent through the cystoscope from the bladder to the ureter. The stent will be passed through the ureter until one end is in the kidney. The bottom end of the stent will remain in the bladder. Both ends of the stent are curled to help keep it from slipping out of the ureter. Once the images show the stent is in the correct place the cystoscope will be removed. Sometimes a string will be attached to the stent and be left hanging through the bladder, down the urethra, and out of the body.
Immediately After Procedure TOP
You will be taken to the recovery room and monitored. The length of recovery will depend on type of anesthesia used.
How Long Will It Take? TOP
Less than one hour
How Much Will It Hurt? TOP
The movement of the tube and placement of the stent will cause a feeling of pressure but anesthesia will prevent pain during surgery. Pain and discomfort after the procedure can be managed with medications.
Average Hospital Stay TOP
This is typically done in a hospital. If you have any problems, you may need to stay longer. In other cases, you may not have to stay overnight.
Post-procedure Care TOP
At the Hospital
Right after the procedure, you will be in a recovery room where your blood pressure, pulse, and breathing will be monitored. Recovery may also include:
During your stay, the hospital staff will take steps to reduce your chance of infection such as:
There are also steps you can take to reduce your chances of infection such as:
Your doctor may give you medications to ease discomfort or fight infection.
Common side effects to expect:
Certain activities may be restricted or limited during recovery.
Some stents can be removed at home by pulling on the string that is left attached. The doctor will instruct when the stent can be removed. Most stents will need to be removed with a second procedure.
Stents may be required for short or long periods of time. Long-term stents will need to be replaced at regular intervals, often within 3-6 months of placement. Removal or replacement can be done with similar procedures.
Call Your Doctor TOP
It is important to monitor your recovery. Alert your doctor to any problems. If any of the following occur, call your doctor:
If you think you have an emergency, call for emergency medical services right away.
National Kidney Foundation
Urology Care Foundation
Canadian Urological Association
The Kidney Foundation of Canada
Ureteral stent FAQ. Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center Department of Urology. Available at: https://wexnermedical.osu.edu/urology/ureteral-stents. Accessed September 7, 2017.
Ureteral stenting and nephrostomy. Radiology Info—Radiological Society of North America website. Available at: https://www.radiologyinfo.org/en/info.cfm?pg=ureteralNephro. Updated May 1, 2017. Accessed September 7, 2017.
What is extrinsic obstruction of the ureter? Urology Care Foundation website. Available at:
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Accessed September 7, 2017.
Last reviewed September 2017 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Adrienne Carmack, MD
Last Updated: 9/7/2017
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