How does Kidney stone stent help?

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The urinary system consists of the kidneys, ureter, bladder, and urethra. The urine formed in the kidney is carried to the bladder by a fine muscular tube called a ureter. The urinary bladder acts as a reservoir for the urine and, when it is full, it is emptied via the urethra. Sometimes the ureter may become blocked or obstructed, preventing urine from being excreted from the body. Whenever there is an obstruction, pressure builds up within the kidney, which can cause kidney damage (leading to kidney failure). The obstruction can also cause stagnation of the urine, which can lead to infection and further damage to the kidneys. It is, therefore, important to relieve or prevent obstruction of the kidney.

What is kidney stone stent?

Kidney stone stent is one of the treatments for kidney stones and to relieve obstruction. A kidney stone stent is a plastic tube inserted between the kidney and the bladder to remove stones from kidney. Coil or J-shaped hooks at either end of the stent keeps it place so that it cannot drift once it is inserted. When a doctor suggests stent for a patient, doctor estimates how long the stent should be and a plan is required for the removal of the stent. Stent is  inserted into the patient's body after the removal of kidney stones  to ensure that urine drains properly for few days. A kidney stone stent can be left in place for up to 6 weeks.

How is kidney stent inserted?

A kidney stone stent is inserted to help a patient pass a kidney stone. When a kidney stent stone is inserted into the patient's body they are given  a local anesthetic depending upon the situation.  A Cystoscope (Cystoscope is an instrument which includes a camera to gather the information about the stent.) is inserted into the urinary tract to allow the doctor to see and the stent is carefully threaded into the ureter. The correct position of a stent is then checked by taking an x-ray. The stent helps urine drain from the kidneys to the bladder, clearing any obstructions and hopefully taking stones along with it. If the stent is left in too long, it can develop deposits of material which could lead to infection or obstruction of the ureter.

Living with a kidney stent 

In the majority of patients, kidney stents are required for only a short period of time. This could range from a few weeks to a few months. When the underlying problem is not a kidney stone, the stent can be left in for several months. While side effects are usually mild, a stent can sometimes be uncomfortable. Some of the side effects include:

  • An increased frequency of passing urine
  • The need to rush to pass urine (urgency)
  • A small amount of blood in the urine. This is quite common and the situation can improve with a greater fluid intake.
  • The stents can also result in a sensation of incomplete emptying of the bladder.
  • Very occasionally, especially in women, there is a slight risk of incontinence episodes.
  • Patients with a stent in place will be aware of its presence most of the time.
  • Discomfort or pain, commonly in the bladder and kidney (loin) area. Sometimes this can affect other areas such as the groin, urethra and genitals. The discomfort or pain may be more noticeable after physical activities and after passing urine.

A patient may experience one or some of these symptoms, especially soon after the ureteric stent is inserted. There is a tendency, however, for some of these symptoms, such as pain while passing urine and blood in the urine, to improve with time.

Do stents help in treating kidney stones?

Yes, stents are used to treat kidney stones. Kidney stones are mineral deposits that crystallize in the kidneys or in the ureters, the tubes that carry urine from the kidneys to the bladder. Some kidney stones pass on their own, while others require medical treatment. A stent is a hollow, flexible tube used to treat kidney stones in certain circumstances.

Doctor might decide to insert a stent in combination with other surgery to break up or completely remove the stone. If a particularly large stone has been removed, you might experience extensive swelling. In this case, your doctor might insert a stent to keep the ureter open so urine can flow freely to your bladder. You might have a kidney stone that your doctor cannot remove because it is too large or because it's in an area where surgical removal is impossible. In this case, your doctor might use a stent so the stone doesn't move to obstruct the ureters. If a ureter is already obstructed, a stent can help clear the passage.




 

Comments

I have had my stent in 6 months and won't be sorry to see it go .

My husband had a stent inserted into the Left kidney in July 2009 during an operation to partailly remove Bowel Cancer, prior to Radiotherapy & Chemotherapy. He is still fighting the Cancer, but for the past 6 months, is hospitalized every few weeks with Kidney infection, which the Urologogists (now at different hospital) say is being caused by the stent, and which is so calcified into his kidney, that they cannot remove it. The operation to remove it is long and very invasive, having to blast away all the crystals, and they have told us that he would not survive it. They have now inserted a stent in his Right kidney, as due to the extra pressure on that one, that too was starting to fail. So now, after living with the Cancer for almost 4 yrs, it is the Kidneys that are causing the problem. I would like to know if leaving the stent in place for all that time, is negligence. I have written to the original Surgeon some 6 weeks ago, but had not had any response. It is so sad, that he is now having to face the inevitable, when, although not always well, the Cancer does not cause him any problems on a day to day basis. I would welcome any comments, if only for my peace of mind, as I feel really angry that he is having to cope with all this.

I have had a stent for one week...it comes out tomorrow, it hasn't been fun but better than passing a huge stone. I have been very tired and it hurts after physical activity, I should of took more time off, I just had lots to do at work. Drink drink and drink lots of water!

I've been reading several things on the internt about the stent. I think when I got out of the hospital I should have been told more information about the uncomfortable feelings that I would have or have had a print out to read. I was only told that I would be feeling uncomfortable. I'm really looking forward to the day that I get it out. I have passed several pieces of sand over the past 5 days after having the shock wave therapy to break it up.

I didnt realize having a stent put in could be so very painful. I got my stent put in a week ago and my pain is increasing in the kidney.

I agree, the more physical activity I have the more my kidney hurts when urinating.

Yes, from my spouse's experience, they are very painful.