Kidney stent removal is a simple procedure that is usually done by a doctor. The stent can be removed under full anesthesia, though it is much more common for a doctor to use a local anesthetic because the patient is usually released immediately after the procedure. A cystoscope is often used to assist the doctor in removing the stent.
In most cases, kidney stent removal is completed under a local anesthetic. The doctor numbs the urethra with a topical anesthetic suspended in a fluid. Once the area is numb, the patient will not be able to feel any pain as the stent is removed.
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There are two ways in which a kidney stent may be taken out of a patient. The first, which is the most common, involves the use of a cytoscope. This tool is fed into the patient's urinary tract, where it is used to assist the doctor in locating and removing the stent. The cytoscope contains a light and a camera on the end of it, so the doctor can see what he is doing while removing the stent.
The second method of removing a kidney stent is to leave a string attached to the stent when it is inserted. This string comes out of the urethra and allows the doctor to pull the stent out at the proper time. The patient may also be under local anesthesia for this type of removal so that there is no pain or discomfort. It is possible for a patient to remove the stent on their own if a string is attached. The doctor will inform the patient when and how to remove the stent.
Kidney stent removal generally takes no more than a few minutes. Using a local anesthetic allows the patient to remain awake during the procedure and to drive home afterward. If the patient wishes to be placed under general anesthetic or if the doctor decides that he or she should, the patient will be released as soon as he wakes up, but he must have someone there to help him return home.
In order to promote healing and decrease the risk of forming kidney stones or urinary tract infections, kidney stent removal must be done within three months of inserting the stent. If the patient requires the stent for longer, it will need to be replaced at the three month mark. Insertion of the new stent requires a doctor and can be done at the same time as the removal of the kidney stent.