A nephrostomy tube is a thin plastic catheter that’s inserted through your skin into your kidneys (either one or both of them). The device allows urine to drain directly from the kidneys into bags outside of the body. This treatment provides nearly immediate relief from the pain caused by impeded drainage of urine from the kidneys to the bladder due to blockages in the ureter by a kidney stone.
Nephrostomy tubes are placed through your back, so you’ll need assistance with changing your bags and cleaning the entry sites. Your caregiver will need to follow the following instructions to care for your tubes.
After washing your hands and wearing proper medical protection -- such as gloves -- first gently remove the bag. Upon removal, hold the tube in place and gently remove the old bandage so as to not disturb the entry site. Examine the skin around the tubes for any signs of infection, such as redness or swelling.
When you clean the site, use sterile gauze with a gentle soap and water. Wipe the skin closest to the tube first, moving in small circles away from the site. Then, using wet gauze, wipe away any soap residue using the same circular motion. Dry the skin with a clean washcloth, and if prescribed, apply any topical medication or ointments.
Finally, apply the skin barrier and bandages with a fresh bag. If you notice any signs of infection or if the tube has moved, contact Dr. Shusterman’s office to have the tubes checked and replaced if necessary.
If your ureters are blocked and urine isn’t moving from your kidneys to your bladder, the pressure in your kidneys will cause pain and can cause serious infections. Nephrostomy tubes provide an outlet for urine that bypasses the blocked tubes and prevents you from experiencing the pain associated with blocked kidneys. Additionally, it prevents any further infections or other complications from developing.
Dr. Shusterman will keep your nephrostomy tubes in place until all the kidney stones have passed or have been removed, and your ureters are completely open for urine to pass to the bladder. Dr. Shusterman will monitor your condition throughout treatment to ensure that the kidney stones are treated effectively. He’ll also ensure that the tubes are enabling your kidneys to function properly, all the while maintaining your health and wellbeing.