A ureteral stent is a soft plastic tube that’s temporarily placed in the ureter to aid urine drainage around a kidney stone or to help facilitate the healing process after a kidney stone is surgically removed. Stents are placed through the urethra and bladder. Dr. Shusterman uses a thin guidewire to send the stent up to the ureter and to the appropriate location to improve urine drainage.
A stent provides a variety of benefits to patients who are suffering from kidney stones. First, stents help the kidneys effectively drain into the bladder by opening up the ureters that are blocked by the stones. That provides a significant amount of pain relief, as the kidneys are not built to store urine: When they can’t drain properly, swelling or the risk of infection occurs. Stents are also used after kidney stones are removed with a ureteroscopy procedure to prevent any closing off of the ureters due to inflammation.
The stents will be in place for as long as necessary to aid the passing of your kidney stones. Some patients have stents for a couple of days, while others may need to keep them in place for several months.
Dr. Shusterman will provide advice and guidance specific to your condition and will monitor the progress of your kidney stone treatment. That will ensure the stents can be removed as soon as it’s medically appropriate. Dr. Shusterman will either use the string attached to the stent to gently remove it, or he’ll use a cystoscope to reach the ureter and remove the stent.
After your stent is placed, you may notice that you urinate more frequently and that there’s a small amount of blood in your urine. Dr. Shusterman will provide you with specific advice on avoiding strenuous activities while the stent is in place, but you should be able to participate in most normal activities.
You may have a thin string coming out of your urethra. Don’t pull on it! The string connects to the stent and will be used by Dr. Shusterman to remove the stent when it’s no longer needed.