Nephrostomy Tubes

KRMC Interventional Radiology
Nephrostomy tubes are placed when there is a blockage in one or both of the tubes, called ureters, that drain urine from the kidneys into the bladder. The most common reasons for a blockage include kidney stones or narrowing caused by a growth. A nephrostomy tube may be placed in one or both kidneys and is usually temporary. If the blockage is not resolved, your physician may recommend a ureteral stent, which bypasses the ureter to drain urine from the kidneys into the bladder.

How to Prepare
  • You may need to have blood drawn in advance of your procedure.
  • A nurse may call you the day before your procedure to review your medications and any last-minute instructions.
  • Do not eat anything for six hours before your procedure.
  • Wear loose clothing.
  • Bring someone to drive you home.
What to Expect
  • The procedure begins with an assessment and an IV start in the holding room before going to the interventional radiology lab.
  • You may be given a mild sedative to help you relax, as well as an antibiotic before the procedure.
  • In the lab, the interventional radiology staff will help you onto a narrow table, connect you to the monitoring equipment and clean the access site with an alcohol-based solution.
  • The interventional radiologist will numb the skin with a local anesthetic and locate the kidney under X-ray.
  • After inserting a flexible tube into the kidney via your lower back, the radiologist will connect the external portion of the tube to a drainage bag.
  • You will return to the holding room for a few hours of recovery.
After the Procedure
  • It is normal for the urine to have a bloody tinge immediately after placement of the tubes.
  • Do not shower for 48 hours. Then keep the insertion site dry for the next two weeks, or until completely healed. Do not take baths.
  • If the nephrostomy tube will be left in long-term, you will have follow-up appointments to change out the tube as directed by your physician.
Videos are provided only as a general reference and are not the property of Kalispell Regional Healthcare or a comprehensive overview of your specific procedure. Talk with your doctor before making any decisions about your treatment.