A kidney or a ureteric stent is a plastic tube which is flexible and can be easily placed into the ureter (i.e. the tubes that connect the kidney to the urinary bladder). A kidney stent is often used to relieve obstruction on a temporary basis. Kidney stent is used in a variety of medical conditions which include kidney stone, strictures, etc.
What Does A Kidney Stent Look Like?
A kidney stent is a flexible plastic tube which is designed to be placed into the ureters. Both the ends of this kidney stent are coiled in such a way, that the top end coils into the kidney and the bottom end coils into the bladder. This coiling prevents the stent from being displaced, especially during strenuous physical activity and also allows the stents to be flexible so as to withstand body movements.
On an average the length of Kidney stents for adult patients ranges from 24-30 cms. There are different types of stents depending upon the material or their sizes, but they all are meant for the same purpose.
What Does A Kidney Stent Do?
A kidney stent is used in cases or in conditions that may result in obstruction of the flow of urine from the kidneys to the urinary bladder. The stent relieves the obstruction and thereby reducing the risk of back pressure on the kidneys, which in turn can lead to condition like hydronephrosis or even renal failure. Some of the common conditions for which a kidney stent is used, include the following,
- Kidney stents are used in cases of renal stone, especially if the stone is large in size and results in obstruction of the flow of urine from the kidney to the bladder. Until the underlying condition is treated, a kidney stent helps maintain normal urine flow.
- Kidney stent is also useful in cases of ureteric strictures, which may result in obstruction to the flow of urine.
- Often following a surgery on the ureters, the healing process tends to take some time and hence kidney stents are used to maintain steady flow.
How Does A Kidney Stent Work?
The synthetic plastic flexible tube is designed to fit into the ureter and remain distended, so as to allow the flow of urine from the kidney to the urinary bladder. Also the structure of the kidney stent prevents it from being dislocated from its position or injuring the surrounding tissue.
The kidney stent is inserted under general anesthesia using a device called cystoscope. The cystoscope is used to guide the placement of the kidney stent in its appropriate position. The correct position is verified after being examined on the X-ray.
Once the condition is treated, the stent is removed using the cystoscope; however this procedure can be performed under local anesthesia. Often, a stent is left with a thread attached at its lower end, which stays outside the urethra and the stent can be removed by simply pulling this thread.