Urine formed in the kidneys passes through tubes called ureters and is stored in the bladder until it is released to the outside. Stones, tumours, clots or infection can form in the kidneys or ureters, blocking the passage of urine and leading to potential damage to the kidneys. A ureteral stent is a narrow hollow tube temporarily placed within the blocked ureter to facilitate the passage of urine.
Ureteral stents are used to allow urine flow around a urinary obstruction and following stone removal surgery to facilitate healing and avoid the swelling of the ureter.
Stents are placed under moderate sedation or general anaesthesia. With the help of imaging studies, your doctor inserts a guide wire up your urinary tract and slides the stent over this wire until it reaches the correct position in the ureter. The guide wire is then removed. You may experience some discomfort as a result of the stent, for which your doctor will prescribe medication. Stents are usually removed within 3 months or they may cause stones to form.