Ureteral Stent Placement: Before Your Procedure

Skip to the navigation

What is ureteral stent placement?

A ureteral (say "you-REE-ter-ul") stent is a thin, hollow tube. It is placed in the ureter to help urine pass from the kidney into the bladder. Ureters are the tubes that connect the kidneys to the bladder.

This procedure is done when something is blocking the ureter. The blockage may be caused by problems such as a kidney stone, a tumour, or an infection. The stent keeps the ureter open. After the stent is placed, urine should flow better from your kidneys to your bladder.

You will get medicine to make you sleep and to prevent pain during the procedure. The doctor will place the stent by guiding it up the urethra. The urethra is the tube that carries urine from the bladder to outside the body. Then the doctor will pass the stent through the bladder and ureter into the kidney. The doctor will place one end of the stent in the kidney and the other end in the bladder.

The stent may be left in place for several days. Or you may have it in place for several months. Your doctor will take it out when you no longer need it. While the stent is in place, you may have to urinate more often. You may feel a sudden need to urinate. Or you may feel like you can't completely empty your bladder.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

What happens before the procedure?

Procedures can be stressful. This information will help you understand what you can expect. And it will help you safely prepare for your procedure.

Preparing for the procedure

  • Understand exactly what procedure is planned, along with the risks, benefits, and other options.
  • Tell your doctors ALL the medicines and natural health products you take. Some of these can increase the risk of bleeding or interact with anesthesia.
  • If you take blood thinners, such as warfarin (Coumadin), clopidogrel (Plavix), or aspirin, be sure to talk to your doctor. He or she will tell you if you should stop taking these medicines before your procedure. Make sure that you understand exactly what your doctor wants you to do.
  • Your doctor will tell you which medicines to take or stop before your procedure. You may need to stop taking certain medicines a week or more before the procedure. So talk to your doctor as soon as you can.
  • If you have an advance care plan, let your doctor know. Bring a copy to the hospital. If you don't have one, you may want to prepare one. It lets your doctor and loved ones know your health care wishes. Doctors advise that everyone prepare these papers before any type of surgery or procedure.

What happens on the day of the procedure?

  • Follow the instructions exactly about when to stop eating and drinking. If you don't, your procedure may be cancelled. If your doctor told you to take your medicines on the day of the procedure, take them with only a sip of water.
  • Take a bath or shower before you come in for your procedure. Do not apply lotions, perfumes, deodorants, or nail polish.
  • Take off all jewellery and piercings. And take out contact lenses, if you wear them.

At the hospital or surgery centre

  • Bring a picture ID.
  • You will be kept comfortable and safe by your anesthesia provider. You will be asleep during the procedure.
  • The procedure will take about 30 to 60 minutes.

Going home

  • Be sure you have someone to drive you home. Anesthesia and pain medicine make it unsafe for you to drive.
  • You will be given more specific instructions about recovering from your procedure. They will cover things like diet, wound care, follow-up care, driving, and getting back to your normal routine.

When should you call your doctor?

  • You have questions or concerns.
  • You don't understand how to prepare for your procedure.
  • You become ill before the procedure (such as fever, flu, or a cold).
  • You need to reschedule or have changed your mind about having the procedure.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

Enter Q169 in the search box to learn more about "Ureteral Stent Placement: Before Your Procedure."