Kidney Stent Removal
June 2, 2018 12:58 PM   Subscribe

I currently have a kidney stent put in under general. I know it doesn't come out under general, and I. Am. Terrified. So, tell me how yours went?

Pertinent: this is not the traditional strings stent, but instead the new magnetic kind. My brain thinks they stick the retrieval wand up your urethra, connect to the stent, and pull both parts out.

My urethra is 100% sure that CANNOT POSSIBLY BE RIGHT.
posted by DarlingBri to Health & Fitness (18 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Just had my ureteral stent out a month ago (kidney transplant). Yes, indeed, they do go in while you're fully awake and aware, the nearest available entry port. It's a relatively thin (IIRC, thinner than the proximal part of any Foley I've ever had) but it squirts water and it's quite uncomfortable, even with the lidocaine gel.

I'm male, so it was a bit of a longer travel. Depending on the doctor doing it, they may not (or may not be able to) "back off" momentarily to let you relax, and might just try to push through any reflexive clenching (this is what happened to me (I really wanted to say "just back off half a second and let me relax, it's all reflex", but didn't think of the words until afterward).

Once the scope is past the urinary sphincter, though, it's easier. They'll just grab the stent, withdraw the scope along with the stent, give you the post-procedure warnings, and let you clean up and leave. At least, that's how it went down with me.

If you really think you need it, you should be able to request it done with some sedation, but you'll probably have to specially schedule that, and you'll need the usual post-sedation support (a ride home, etc.).
posted by WasabiFlux at 1:33 PM on June 2, 2018 [1 favorite]

I did have the old-fashioned strings stent, and I have a vagina, and I say it wasn't that big of a deal. It did burn a bit, but was a hell of a lot less pain than some of the associated events that led to me getting the stent in the first place. It was also pretty quick, under a minute for sure.
posted by BlahLaLa at 1:57 PM on June 2, 2018

Well fuck. Now I need a professional leg wax and hedge trim. BECAUSE I HAVEN'T BEEN IN ENOUGH PAIN LATELY.

posted by DarlingBri at 3:43 PM on June 2, 2018 [1 favorite]

It takes less than 15-20 secs and, mine at least, was painless. A bit of a strange sensation that you could feel from the ASIC to the symphysis as the stent was pulled down the ureter, but not rising to the level of pain or discomfort.
posted by sudogeek at 4:40 PM on June 2, 2018

I'm a lady who had a kidney stent removed and it was not a big deal at all. I have intense medical anxiety, and if it were horrible I would be the first to let you know. It was really, really ok.
posted by medusa at 4:54 PM on June 2, 2018 [3 favorites]

Healthcare professionals see a lot of sick bodies. Normal things like body hair, cellulite, acne, etc do not faze them at all. Please consider leaving your body hair alone- 1000% guarantee your doctors and nurses couldn't care less about it.

Trigger warning- medical ick:
I can say this confidently because I have had MANY frank conversations with many healthcare friends about "what grosses you out at work?" Answers included necrotic flesh, huge amounts of pus, tampons left in for multiple months, fungating tumours.

Truly, leg hair and pubes DID NOT MAKE THE LIST.

Good luck on your procedure!
posted by pseudostrabismus at 5:11 PM on June 2, 2018 [30 favorites]

I’m a nurse who takes care of lots of urology patients (normally after getting their stents placed, though - not removed) and I can confirm literally no one gives a shit about pubic hair or leg hair. I’m sitting here trying to conjure up even one specific memory of a patient’s pubic hair and I literally can’t.

Since I have not personally had a stent removed, I’m probably no more helpful than your office staff would be in terms of advice re: the removal. I will tell you that we have many people who’ve had to have stents placed/removed more than once and I have had many people tell me getting them removed was much easier and overall less painful than having them placed. No one has ever told me getting them removed was very painful. Of course YMMV - but hoping it does not! Good luck.
posted by pecanpies at 5:38 PM on June 2, 2018 [9 favorites]

and sorry for my abuse of the word “literally.” I’m on my second glass of wine after a 12 hour shift. L’chaim!
posted by pecanpies at 5:40 PM on June 2, 2018 [6 favorites]

I wish that I could be of more specific help, but my urologist put me under to remove the one he'd put in. Mine was a modern one with no external strings. I can say that having it out was much better than having it in place, as I had been in constant pain from the curly ends scratching up my innards. My bladder hasn't been the same since. It can take a very long time to heal, so be gentle with it.

From personal experience, I'd suggest avoiding any supplements with B vitamins for several months, and go easy on citrus, tea, and coffee until you know that they don't bother you.

Closer to what you're having done, assuming that they're going to do it visually, I did have an in-office bladder scoping done back in March. Having a short urethra is nice for this. It was not fun, but it wasn't painful. Less painful than the "hurting when I pee" reason for having it done. Pantsless, table, numbing spray, wait for numbing spray to take effect, and up goes the camera. Tell us if it hurts in a way that means we need to stop. Pump bladder full of water, scope moves around, doc does what doc needs to do, out comes the equipment on a wave of slightly used saline. The table is equipped with a drain. It will probably be a bit more uncomfortable in your case, because they have to put the grabby thingy up with the scope, but when I was there the nurse said that that was the only difference.

Notably, that procedure room is the only non-lavatory room in my urologist's entire office suite that does not contain any swords.

Don't worry about being anything but clean, because they've seen worse. Really. You're not even going to register on their scale for not having shaved while enstented. Wear slip-on shoes and your loosest stretchy pants, and bring some extra underwear and your preferred type of pad in case you need it. You're probably not going to want to go to a movie or for a long hike after.

You're going to be ok.
posted by monopas at 6:03 PM on June 2, 2018 [2 favorites]

Just FYI, a doctor wanted to do a bone marrow biopsy on me without sedation and I flat out refused to do it. She argued with me, but eventually gave in. This wasn’t general anesthesia, but I don’t remember the procedure (it was some kind of IV sedation). I don’t know anything about stents, but I do know it’s possible to advocate for yourself and get what you need. Ultimately, it’s your body and they can’t make you do anything. (Of course, it’s best to discuss reasonably and not to be an asshole. I tried that first.)
posted by FencingGal at 6:14 PM on June 2, 2018 [3 favorites]

Also, if you can go have your legs waxed, for any reason ever, you're one up on me. The only waxing I've ever done was signifigantly more painful than the bladder scoping.

I was born structurally female, and have severe anxiety with agoraphobia. If it helps, I'm generally fine with medical and dental stuff, because at this point I like to think of it as just really effective spa treatment.
posted by monopas at 6:17 PM on June 2, 2018 [3 favorites]

literally no one gives a shit about pubic hair or leg hair. Take a shower and wash your bits with water, a little soap on the outside. That's all you need to do ever.
posted by theora55 at 6:35 PM on June 2, 2018 [4 favorites]

(I hope you mean soap on the external / hair-bearing labia majora only because you don't want soap on the pink bits)
posted by chiquitita at 11:07 PM on June 2, 2018 [1 favorite]

From personal experience, I'd suggest avoiding any supplements with B vitamins for several months, and go easy on citrus, tea, and coffee until you know that they don't bother you.

Monopas, can you elaborate on this? I knew no D or C because they increase calcium absorption, but why no B? I have pernicious anemia and self-inject, so that would be a serious problem for me.
posted by DarlingBri at 12:32 AM on June 3, 2018

I was catheterized a few years ago after an accident, the catheter was in for a few days. I just wanted to tell you that while the IDEA of it seems completely heinous, it isn’t painful. I mean, I’d rather go to Disney World than have something inserted in my urethra again, if given the choice, but I promise it’s not that bad.

People in the medical profession don’t give a single shit about your body hair.
posted by cakelite at 10:04 AM on June 3, 2018

Re: the body hair

Removal would be more worthy of note than leaving it alone. Most urology patients are 70yr old men, we are very used to untamed pubes.

And no, stent removal doesn't appear to hurt. I’ve seen plenty of post-stent transplant patients and nobody has ever mentioned it hurting to me.
posted by tinkletown at 4:08 PM on June 3, 2018 [1 favorite]

Whoops! Sorry that I didn't see your question sooner. I suspect that injections of B vitamins are less of a problem, but taken orally many people find that they are incredibly irritating to one's bladder. B vitamin pils were the first thing that caused the UTI-like pain for me after the stent. Bladders heal very slowly.

I hope very much that your recovery goes smooth and simple, but if it doesn't you aren't alone.

I'd never had any issues until I had the stent, except for the very serious kidney infection that made it necessary. After, well, I got a lot of helpful hints from the comments on these two posts at Most of the comments are brutally honest about how bad the stone/stent/UTI cycle can be, and how often the potential after effects are minimized.

If you can take it, keep plenty of AZO around for bladder irritation incidents. If it continues to hurt, go back. If you can't take AZO, or you need to take it often, it might be a good idea to ask about getting a prescription for Uribel (or the same combo under another name). It is more expensive, but if you feel as if you have a UTI every day, all day, for weeks, with no relief, it is worth it. Kind of fun to pee blue instead of orange, and considered safer for long term use.
posted by monopas at 11:03 PM on June 6, 2018 [1 favorite]

Right, the stent is OUT. I was reassured by your comments but still frankly terrified. (I went through the whole kidney stone thing rock solid but I'm not good with anticipating unknown pain so the removal was everything I hate.) In the event, there was a lot of deep breathing and everyone was fine waiting for me to be ready. The urology doc who had treated me in the ER came to watch the removal (the magnetic ones are apparently both new and cool, and also NO CAMERA needed.) She held my hand while the nurse did the thing. It was as nice as this procedure could be.

I'll be honest: it was unpleasant and hurt and I screeched, probably more out of fear than anything else, for the entire 35 seconds but it was completely manageable and brief. The relief is incredible and the discomfort and irritation is OVER. It has been at least an hour since I last peed and it is glorious.

PS: I totally waxed my legs. Because that's what made me comfortable, not for anyone else's benefit thankyouverymuch.
posted by DarlingBri at 5:36 AM on June 7, 2018

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