When there is a blockage of urine and the kidney cannot drain into the bladder, the renal function may be compromised and infection occur. During a nephrostomy, a tube is placed through the skin into one or both kidneys.
The patient is placed on his/her stomach on the x-ray table and after being given a sedative, local anesthetic is injected into the skin. Using ultrasound guidance, a small needle is advanced into the kidney and a special dye injected to outline the kidney. If there is a blockage within the ureter that drains urine from the kidney, the urologist may request that the radiologist places a stent within the ureter to allow urine to drain properly. An external nephrostomy catheter is inserted and secured to allow drainage of the kidney into a small bag afterwards. The bag is small enough to be hidden under clothing and will not be noticeable. Once the stent is confirmed to be functioning adequately, the nephrostomy catheter may be removed.
Preparation for a Nephrostomy tube placement:
You will be asked to have nothing to eat or drink after midnight the night before your procedure. Have someone drive you to the hospital the morning of your exam.
Affter the procedure:
You should be able to go home a few hours after the procedure. The collection bag will need to be emptied as it fills but this is very simple. The amount of time you will have the nephrostomy tube is dependent on several factors. Some patients have them for a few days, others for many months. Long term patients may come back periodically for tube checks and catheter exchanges.