A ureteric stent is nothing but actually a thin soft tube inserted into the ureter so as to treat the obstruction in the urine flow from the kidney to the bladder. The tube has a curl at both ends which are designed to prevent the stent from moving down into the bladder or up into the kidney. Sometimes strings are attached to the stents which exits from the urethra. Stents come in different diameters and gauges so as to fit different size ureters. Normally after stone surgeries, sometimes small pieces of stone might drop down into the ureter thereby blocking it which causes pain leading to infection. Stents make dilation of ureter possible so that the stones and fragments can pass smoothly. Stents are placed usually after many other surgical procedures like removal of tumors around the kidney or ureter and repairing scars and injuries etc.
The function of the stent is to open up the valve that prevents urine backing up into the kidney from the bladder when you urinate. So when you urinate, towards the end, you may feel a slight tugging or stretching sensation in your back. Sometimes there is some burning sensation with urination. The stent can cause scratching of the bladder lining hence small amount of bleeding can be expected either from the stent or the operation for which the stent was needed. Stent may rarely move down into the urethra tube. On such occasions, urine leaks out as a steady drip continuously. In such cases it is recommended that you consult your urologist immediately.
Stents are left in for different time periods depending upon the cause and usually are not left in for longer than three months. String attached stents can be pulled out gently by the patient, nurse or doctor. Those stents without strings attached to them are to be removed in the urologist’s office. A cystoscope is used to look in the bladder prior to the removal of the stents. The patient has to drink 2 – 3 cups of fluid as soon as the stent is removed. Post operative complications may include some pain in the side or lower abdomen; burning sensation with urination and presence of blood in the urine for 2 – 3 days.