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Ureteral stents are 9-12 inch (24-30 cm) pieces of sterile plastic tubing used to relieve obstructions in the urinary tract or placed temporarily during ureter surgery. Most of the time the patient will be under general anesthesia when the stent is inserted; during stent removal, a local anesthetic may be used. After being prepped for removal of the stent, the doctor may thread a cystoscope through the urethra until it reaches the stent, grasp it, and pull it out using steady force. Some stents have a thread attached to them that remains outside of the body, thus making a cystoscope is unnecessary. Following stent removal, you may notice stinging on urination or blood in the urine; antibiotics may be prescribed.
Once the obstruction has cleared or the ureters have healed, you will return to the doctor for stent removal. Prior to the procedure, you may be asked to change into a hospital gown or remove your clothing from the waist down. You may be instructed to lay on a procedure table with your knees bent and slightly apart. Your lower body will be covered with a sterile sheet.
Once you are in position, the doctor will use a syringe without a needle to pass local anesthetic into the urinary tract. Once numbed, the area around the urethra will be cleaned. If the stent does not have a string, the cystoscope is inserted. When the stent is reached, the doctor will grasp it with a special tool that has been advanced through the cystoscope, and then slowly pull it out. You may feel a slow, constant pressure during stent removal.
If your kidney stent has a string attached, the preparation for stent removal is the same as when a cystoscope is used. Following prepping for removal of the stent, the doctor or nurse will pull the thread to remove the stent; no cystoscope is required. You may feel some pressure or force as the stent is removed.
The entire outpatient procedure may take 15-20 minutes or less. No hospital stay is required for routine stent removal. During the first 24 hours after the procedure, you may notice stinging and/or a small amount of blood when you urinate. The doctor may recommend drinking two full glasses of water each hour for the first two hours following the procedure to help reduce the side effects. You may also be prescribed a short course of antibiotics to prevent infection.