A ureteric stent is a soft flexible tube that is temporarily placed in the ureter to make a channel for the urine to pass and allow drainage of the kidney. A stent is needed when there is a blockage of the ureter or following surgery on or near the ureter to ensure adequate urine drainage. Stents used for an adult patient vary from 24 cm to 30 cm in length. One end of the stent is placed in the kidney and the other end is placed in the bladder. A stent has coils at both ends to prevent displacement. Stents are usually placed for short periods which may vary from a few weeks up to 6 months and are removed or replaced thereafter.
Usually, a stent is placed under general anaesthesia by using a cystoscope which is passed through the urethra into the bladder. The stent is then placed in the ureter and kidney through an opening of ureter in the bladder. The correct position of the stent is confirmed by X-ray screening during the operation.
Removal of the stent is also performed using a cystoscope and can be performed under local anaesthesia. Sometimes, a thread is attached to the lower end of the stent and stays outside the body through the urethra. Such stents can be removed just by pulling the thread.
Side Effects and Complications
The majority of patients feel the stent and may experience one or more of the following symptoms:
These symptoms usually resolve within 24 to 48 hours or when the stent is removed.
Complications associated with ureteral stent may include infection, encrustation and migration.