Uretral Stent Removal
October 5, 2010 10:05 AM   Subscribe

Have you had a ureteral stent removed? Please step behind this curtain....

I have a ureteral stent which was installed (under general anesthesia), which is due to be removed tomorrow. To my surprise, I found out today that they are not going to do the removal under general, but rather as an in-office procedure, with some kind of local.

I'm pretty freaked out.

I have already spoken to the nurse at the urologists office about my concerns, but she assures me "there will be some discomfort, but its a quick procedure we do all the time" but this particular office's track record at telling me honestly how uncomfortable things will be has been uneven at best (ie: when my first stent was installed they told me "you'll never even know its there" which was untrue, and which the PA afterward admitted to me they knew to be untrue - I've been on Oxycode for four weeks due to the discomfort from the stent.)

I ended up using this practice through "luck of the draw" (ie: this was the on-call urologist when I turned up at the ER) and given that this is almost over I'm not really in a place where I can switch doctors now. But I'm freaking out about the removal tomorrow. And the internet isn't helping - Google turns up lots and lots of horror stories about how painful stent removal can be, but being that its the internet I also know that its the worst-case stories that get written up. I gave birth without pain meds, so I'm not a wuss about this stuff, but I also know my own tolerances. I believe I have a J-stent, and if there is a string we haven't been able to locate it.

Are you a person with female bits who has had a uretral stent removed? How painful/not painful was it? What was the recovery like? I don't particularly want to go under general again (I've already been under general twice this month for procedures related to this stent) but what other options can/should I talk to them about in terms of pain management for the procedure assuming they don't offer much more than a local numbing agent? What other questions should I be prepared to ask?
posted by anastasiav to Health & Fitness (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I have male bits, but I had a stent put in under general anesthesia, and removed with local. To be fair, I didn't have any pain while the stent was in, but I spent the week before freaking out over how they were going to haul a tube out of my junk while I was awake. I still cringe at the thought.

It was absolutely trivial; a minute of watching an awesome-looking endoscope, no pain whatsoever, and it was done. The stressing out ahead of time was orders of magnitude worse than the actual thing. Like, my discomfort was around 99.9% psychological, and the only thing I remember from the recovery was me hanging around a coffee shop (since I'd had the morning off from work) feeling vaguely ashamed over how much I'd psyched myself out.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 11:03 AM on October 5, 2010

Best answer: I would request a sedative. Typically ureteral stents come out with little issue, but your anxiety levels are probably off the charts with this. A sedative will calm you but not put you under.

If you are having this much pain, you are entirely in your right to demand better pain management, and something in the range of a sedative is not asking for much.

posted by Mister Fabulous at 11:49 AM on October 5, 2010

Best answer: Mrs. zooropa had a stent after having kidney stones. Hers was in place for a little over a week and was removed at the urologist's office without any anesthesia (as far as she can remember). She says that it was just slightly uncomfortable, and that later she had some spasms (from the kidney issue, probably not from the stent).
posted by zooropa at 12:06 PM on October 5, 2010

Best answer: Male parts here, and had one put in following kidney stone surgery.

So um, I was so stressed and whacked out on so much medication before and after the surgery, that I never fully understood what a stent even was. My Dr removed it with no anesthesia at all, and I will not lie, it hurt like a son of a bitch, but the pain subsided within seconds. I think I was more just in psychological shock at actually seeing that long tube come out than anything else, but yeah, not pleasant at all. To his credit, he didn't warn me before just yanking the damn thing out, because if I had tensed up expecting it, I'm sure it would have hurt a lot more.

At the very least take a nice sedative before going in. You're already stressed about it. I had no clue what it really was, so was probably in a slightly better place.

Not. Pleasant. Do. Not. Want. Having awful flashbacks now.

Sorry. :(
posted by BryanPayne at 12:06 PM on October 5, 2010

Best answer: My son was in the same predicament and the urologist actually tried to do this in his office but stopped when it was obvious the pain was too great. We learned that insurance rules prefer the office removal but will allow the hospital/outpatient/anesthetic removal if absolutely necessary. My son got the latter but we ever after fumed about the barbarism--not really the doctor's fault, it seems. Apparently just enough folks are able to tolerate the procedure to justify the insurance company's position.

If that is your situation, make a fuss and get your way.
posted by Anitanola at 12:28 PM on October 5, 2010

Sorry, I didn't read closely enough and you're getting much response from people with male bits. I have not experienced this myself although during my son's ordeal they did say it is worse for men usually than for women. I myself would not hesitate to request everything possible for pain and anxiety except maybe general anesthetic.
posted by Anitanola at 12:33 PM on October 5, 2010

Best answer: Male type parts here also. Similar story as above.
Stent from a kidney stone encounter, placed while under general.
Removal to be in the office... I was stressing VERY much over the whole idea.
I asked the doctor about sedation for the removal and she said that it was overkill.

I did take the norco (vicodin, but more powerful) that the doc originally prescribed for the pain of the stone procedure.
Sitting in the waiting room for over an hour past my appointment time didn't help with the stress level either.

The worse part was the over-stressing before the removal and the seeming dis-involvement of the nurses that injected the numbing jell into the male parts as mentioned. (I was scared shitless, they were nonchalant.) (Bonus points: One nurse was learning how to inject the numbing stuff the 'teacher' acted like she had better things to do. My only thoughts were: "HEY! That's MY equipment you're playing with!")

As the doc said, it was over in a jiffy; I was none the worse for wear.
posted by Drasher at 12:58 PM on October 5, 2010

Best answer: i have had this done twice (i'm a woman)

it hurt, but it was over very very quick. i mean it took seconds at most.

NOT a big deal and don't worry about it
posted by wurly at 2:06 PM on October 5, 2010

Best answer: My wife just went through this, so I asked her. In her case she wasn't completely healed inside when the stent was removed. Thus it hurt more than she was led to expect and caused some complications. Co-workers of hers that have had stents didn't have the same level of discomfort during removal. One presumes this is because they had completely healed. So I suppose I'd ask the urologist to make double-damn sure the reason you had the stent in the first place has healed before you have it out.
posted by ob1quixote at 2:17 PM on October 5, 2010

Best answer: I've got lady bits and I've gone through it twice. Both times, it hurt bad enough for me to yell, "SON OF A BITCH!" but only for as long as it took for me to yell that. And then I was fine. There was no pain after, just relief. So don't be too worried. Be glad that you're getting that horrible, uncomfortable stent taken out and can get back to normal.
posted by jrossi4r at 4:56 PM on October 5, 2010

Best answer: Lady bits here, and my experience was the same as wurly and jrossi4r. It was out in a flash and hurt like the dickens for that brief moment. Then I was fine.
posted by JaneL at 7:44 AM on October 6, 2010

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