Nephrostomy Tube

  • What is a nephrostomy tube?

    Nephrostomy Back View Image

    Urine is produced in the kidney and flows down a small tube called the ureter into the bladder. Sometimes the flow of urine is blocked due to stones, infection, congenital abnormalities or trauma. To restore the flow, a small catheter (tube) can be placed through the skin of the lower back into the kidney. Urine will then drain into a small bag. A nephrostomy tube may be in place for days, weeks or months.

  • How is a nephrostomy tube placed?

    Nephrostomy Tube Side View Image

    Using ultrasound, the interventional radiologist will locate the kidney and insert a special hollow needle through the skin into the kidney. Using live X-ray (fluoroscopy) for guidance, the doctor will guide a small catheter into the kidney. The portion of the catheter on the outside of the skin will be connected to a drainage bag. A small stitch (suture) and/or an adhesive clip will hold the catheter in place on the surface of the skin. Your child will be protected by an X-ray shield.

  • Will my child be awake during the procedure?

    No. We will use either intravenous sedation or general anesthesia so your child isn't awake.

    Learn about sedation and general anesthesia.

  • How long will the procedure take?

    Approximately one hour.

  • What are the risks?

    The procedure is considered low risk. However, potential complications include:

    • Bleeding
    • Infection
    • Injury to the kidney, ureter or bladder
    • Allergic reaction to the X-ray dye (contrast reaction)
  • Will my child be in any pain after the procedure?

    The catheter site may be tender for several days.

  • Can my child bathe?

    We will place gauze and a clear bandage over the catheter site. In addition, the catheter will be secured with a locking device (StatLockĀ®) which must not be removed. The bandage must remain dry and in place at all times. You may sponge bathe your child, but must keep the site dry.

  • Are there any activity restrictions?

    Your child must avoid activities, such as contact sports or rough playing, which may result in a pull to the catheter and damage to or loss of the catheter.