Cardiovascular and Interventional Radiological Society of Europe
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PatientsIR proceduresUreteric stenting

Ureteric stenting

What is ureteric stenting?

A ureteric stent (also called a J-J stent or double-J stent) is a thin, flexible plastic tube which is curled at both ends to avoid damaging the kidney and urinary bladder and to prevent it from dislocating. The stent is placed so that its upper end is in the kidney and its lower end is in the urinary bladder.

Ureteric stenting is the procedure in which stents are inserted into the ureter through the skin and via the kidney, to allow urine to pass from the kidney to the bladder.

How does the procedure work?

You will lie on your stomach, usually with one side slightly raised on a pillow, and will receive an injection of a painkiller and a sedative. The interventional radiologist will then insert a cystoscope (a small tube with a camera) through your urethra into your bladder. This cystoscope will then be used to find the opening where the ureter connects to your bladder. After detecting this opening, the IR will thread the ureteral stent into your ureter via the cystoscope. Once the stent is firmly in place, the IR will remove the cystoscope.

A ureteric stent must be changed every three to six months. This is usually performed as an out-patient procedure.

Why perform it?

Ureteric stenting is performed when long-term urinary drainage is needed. The procedure is often more favourable than nephrostomy, which can have a larger effect on the patient’s quality of life.

What are the risks?

It is possible that you will experience minor bleeding from your kidney after the nephrostomy, though severe bleeding that requires treatment occurs in less than 5% of patients. In less than 1/500 patients an organ near the kidney is injured during the nephrostomy. Although temporary low-grade fever is common after the procedure, a high fever occurs in around 1-3% of patients, which is usually the result of an unresponsive infection.