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Ureteral stents are quite commonly used in patients that are suffering from urinary retention, have kidney stones that they are unable to pass, acute renal colic, a prolonged endoscopic procedure or aq situation where a second-look ureteroscopy has to be performed.

The stent is basically a hollow plastic tube that allows the urine to flow from the kidney to the bladder and maintain patency until healing has taken place or an obstruction has been relieved.

The stent can be placed inside the body for as less as a few days up to a couple of months. The recent consensus about this procedure is that it has been a bit overused by the medical community. While the kind of symptoms that patients face after this procedure can vary, most do not have an excessive amount of pain and discomfort.

The procedure of stent insertion is done under general anesthesia. For removal of the stent, some patients only require local anesthesia while others will require going under general anesthesia again.

Symptoms related to A Ureteral Stent

Some of the most commonly seen symptoms include an increased frequency of urination, the feeling of urgency when wanting to urinate, incontinence, pain, and blood in the urine.

Both the increased frequency and urgency of urination are thought o be because of the physical pressure that the stent applies.  The pain can be because of irritation, inflammation or a reflux of the urine.

All of these symptoms are considered to be normal after stent placement.

Complications related to Ureteral Stent Placement

 Urinary Tract Infection

This can occur because of insertion of a foreign object into a closed environment. It may occur immediately after stent placement or afterward as the underlying disease process continues to advance.

Malposition

This is when the stent does not stay in the same place as the original position. The reason behind this could be an improper length of the stent used as this needs to be considered using imaging capabilities and the individual's body proportions.

Migration

The stent can migrate downwards in the urinary tract often due to the normal muscular movements that take place in the structures. The use of ‘J” end shaped stents and those coated with hydrophilic materials have helped fight this occurrence.

Encrustation

The stent can get deposited with urine contents over a period of time and this encrustation can actually become significant enough to prevent removal, cause injury to the urinary tract during removal or cause a fracture of the stent.

Ureteral Erosion or Fistualization

This is the most feared complication during stent placement and can even lead to the death of the patient. This is when the stent starts to protrude into the adjacent structure causing damage and possibly even enough bleeding to cause a circulatory collapse.

The patient will notice a large amount of blood in the urine and should contact the doctor immediately since this is treated as a medical emergency.

Forgotten Stent

A stent that is left in the body longer than needed is almost always going to end up with complications. A stent should be observed at short intervals and be removed at the earliest possible time.

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