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What is a Renal Stent?

A renal stent is a tiny, tube-like device inserted into the ureter to prevent or combat blockages that impede kidney function. It acts as a scaffold to keep the pathway open, ensuring urine can flow freely. This intervention can be life-changing for patients with kidney stones or other obstructions. Wondering how this procedure could impact your health? Keep reading to uncover the benefits.
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

A renal stent is a medical device which is designed to be used in the treatment of kidney problems. There are several different types of stents intended for different purposes. Like stents intended for use in other regions of the body, a renal stent is a small tube which facilitates drainage or flow from one area of the body to another. Candidates for stenting usually have the device placed by a specialist such as a nephrologist, a doctor who specializes in treatment of kidney disorders.

One type of renal stent is designed to address blockages in the ureter, the tube which drains urine from the kidneys to the bladder. This type of renal stent holds the ureter open so that it can drain freely. This can be used to help patients pass kidney stones and to address other blockages such as narrowing of the ureter caused by inflammation, infection, scarring, or tumors. The stent has coils on either end which fix it in place and ensure that it will not drift.

Human kidneys.
Human kidneys.

Another type of renal stent is designed to be used on the renal artery. In this case, the stent holds the artery open so that the flow of blood is not disrupted by a blockage. The renal artery can be subject to stenosis or narrowing as a result of chronic disease and other medical issues. If a doctor suspects that a patient needs a renal artery stent, a medical imaging study is conducted to look at the blood vessels which surround the kidneys, and an angiogram may be performed with the use of tracer dyes to follow the flow of blood through the area.

A renal stent may be used to pass kidney stones or other bladder obstructions.
A renal stent may be used to pass kidney stones or other bladder obstructions.

Having a stent inserted can be painful, and anesthesia is using during the procedure to keep the patient comfortable. Once the renal stent is in place, the patient may need to follow special care directions. For example, if a stent is placed in the renal artery, it may be necessary to take special medications to prevent clots from forming in and around the stent. The patient may also need to be periodically examined to confirm that the stent is still in place and that it is working properly.

A urinalysis may be conducted to detect kidney stones.
A urinalysis may be conducted to detect kidney stones.

Before having a renal stent inserted, patients should make sure that their doctors are familiar with their complete medical history, in case there are any contraindications which could make a stent inadvisable. In addition, patients should ask about what kind of stent is being used, the purpose of the stent insertion, and what the expected outcome of the stenting will be. They may also want to ask about special care directions which will need to be followed and what will happen if or when the stent needs to be removed.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a TheHealthBoard researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Learn more...
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a TheHealthBoard researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Learn more...

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Discussion Comments

Cageybird

When I had my first kidney stone attack, the doctors discussed the possibility of a renal stent. They said I could expect more stones to form on a three to five year cycle, so a stent might help to keep them from becoming problematic. They finally decided not to implant one, since I couldn't afford the procedure on my income at the time. I think they would probably recommend one now if I ever had another kidney stone attack.

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    • Human kidneys.
      By: London-England
      Human kidneys.
    • A renal stent may be used to pass kidney stones or other bladder obstructions.
      By: airborne77
      A renal stent may be used to pass kidney stones or other bladder obstructions.
    • A urinalysis may be conducted to detect kidney stones.
      By: Mi.Ti.
      A urinalysis may be conducted to detect kidney stones.
    • A renal stent is used in the treatment of kidney problems.
      By: acherst
      A renal stent is used in the treatment of kidney problems.
    • Problems with the kidneys may cause high blood pressure.
      By: WavebreakmediaMicro
      Problems with the kidneys may cause high blood pressure.