There is a muscular tube inside the body called the ureter and it drains urine from the kidney into the bladder. If the tube is blocked because of a blood clot or a stone you may need a nephrostomy. This procedure involves inserting a catheter through the skin into the kidney. The catheter will drain the urine into a bag outside the body. Nephrostomy procedures can also be done to give your doctor access to the urinary tract so that stones can be dissolved or chemotherapy can be delivered.

A radiologist will do the procedure because X-ray and scanning tools must be used in order to insert the catheter correctly and because the procedure requires expertise in reading and understanding these scanned images as the procedure is undertaken.

Preparation for the procedure

You may be either an inpatient at the hospital for this procedure or an outpatient.

You may be able to drink water before the procedure but you will need to go without eating for at least four hours prior to the procedure.

You may have your blood drawn and tested the day before the procedure.

You may be given medication for anxiety or an antibiotic to prevent infection.

You’ll need to tell your doctor about any allergies you may have to dye used for X-rays and CT scanning.

Tell your doctor about all medication you are taking including herbal treatment.

Tell your doctor if you are taking blood thinners or if you are diabetic.

For a more in depth look at this procedure, visit our Health Library page on this topic.