What is the evidence base for this information?
This leaflet includes advice from consensus panels, the British Association of Urological Surgeons, the Department of Health and evidence based sources; it is, therefore, a reflection of best practice in the UK. It is intended to supplement any advice you may already have been given by your urologist or nurse specialist as well as the surgical team at Addenbrooke’s. Alternative treatments are outlined below and can be discussed in more detail with your urologist or specialist nurse.
What does the procedure involve?
This procedure involves telescopic inspection of the bladder and urethra combined with insertion, removal or changing of a soft plastic tube placed between the kidney and the bladder. The procedure is usually performed under x‑ray control.
What are the alternatives to this procedure?
Observation, placement of a tube directly into the kidney through the back (nephrostomy), open surgical treatment.
What should I expect before the procedure?
You will usually be admitted on the same day as your surgery. You will normally undergo pre-assessment on the day of your clinic or an appointment for pre-assessment will be made from clinic, to assess your general fitness, to screen for the carriage of MRSA and to perform some baseline investigations. After admission, you will be seen by members of the medical team which may include the consultant, junior urology doctors and your named nurse.
You will be asked not to eat or drink for six hours before surgery and, immediately before the operation, you may be given a pre-medication by the anaesthetist which will make you dry-mouthed and pleasantly sleepy.
Please be sure to inform your urologist in advance of your surgery if you have any of the following:
- an artificial heart valve
- a coronary artery stent
- a heart pacemaker or defibrillator
- an artificial joint
- an artificial blood vessel graft
- a neurosurgical shunt
- any other implanted foreign body
- a prescription for warfarin, aspirin, rivaroxaban, dabigatran, apixaban, edoxaban or clopidogrel, ticagrelor or blood thinning medication
- a previous or current MRSA infection
- high risk of variant CJD (if you have received a corneal transplant, a neurosurgical dural transplant or previous injections of human derived growth hormone)
What happens during the procedure?
Either a full general anaesthetic (where you will be asleep throughout the procedure) or a spinal anaesthetic (where you are awake but unable to feel anything from the waist down) will be used. All methods minimise pain; your anaesthetist will explain the pros and cons of each type of anaesthetic to you. Sometimes we may undertake this operation under local anaesthetic only, but this would be in exceptional circumstances.
You will usually be given injectable antibiotics before the procedure, after checking for any allergies.
A telescope is inserted through the water pipe (urethra) to inspect both the urethra itself and the whole lining of the bladder. A stent is then inserted into the ureter, using the telescope, under x-ray guidance.
What happens immediately after the procedure?
You will normally be allowed home once you have passed urine satisfactorily. If a catheter is left in place, this will normally be removed within 24 hours and you will be discharged once you have passed urine satisfactorily.
Most patients are discharged home on the same day.
Are there any side effects?
Most procedures have a potential for side effects. You should be reassured that, although all these complications are well recognised, the majority of patients do not suffer any problems after a urological procedure.
Please use the check boxes to tick off individual items when you are happy that they have been discussed to your satisfaction:
Common (greater than one in 10)
- Mild burning or bleeding on passing urine
- Temporary insertion of a catheter
- Discomfort from the tube causing pain, frequency of urination and occasional blood in urine
- Further procedure to remove or change the stent if inserted
Occasional (between one in 10 and one in 50)
- Infection of bladder requiring antibiotics
- Occasionally we cannot pass the stent requiring alternative treatment
- Permission for telescopic removal/ biopsy of bladder abnormality/stone if found
Rare (less than one in 50)
- Delayed bleeding requiring removal of clots or further surgery
- Injury to the urethra causing delayed scar formation
What should I expect when I get home?
When you leave hospital, you will be given a discharge summary of your admission. This holds important information about your inpatient stay and your operation. If, in the first few weeks after your discharge, you need to call your GP for any reason or to attend another hospital, please take this summary with you to allow the doctors to see details of your treatment. This is particularly important if you need to consult another doctor within a few days of your discharge.
When you get home, you should drink twice as much fluid as you would normally for the next 24-48 hours to flush your system through. You may find that, when you first pass urine, it stings or burns slightly and it may be lightly bloodstained.
In approximately 60% of patients some discomfort, similar to cystitis, persists until the stent is removed. Patients may also experience pain when they pass urine, and see blood in the urine. Simple painkillers will usually help but there is nothing to be gained from treatment with antibiotics unless there is a proven urinary infection. Occasionally, this pain can be severe enough to require the early removal of the stent.
What else should I look out for?
If you develop a fever, severe pain on passing urine, inability to pass urine or worsening bleeding, you should contact your GP immediately.
Are there any other important points?
A follow-up appointment will be arranged following discharge from hospital and may involve an outpatient clinic appointment, arrangements for you to have your stent removed at a later date or further treatment (eg ureteroscopy or lithotripsy). If you have any concerns about the timing of further treatment, please discuss this with your named nurse or consultant.
Stents do not normally need to remain in place for more than six weeks. Please let us know if you have not heard from us about your further treatment such as undertaking a procedure to treat any stone which you might have which would include plans to remove or change your stent within six weeks or so of your discharge.
A specific information sheet on what to expect with a ureteric stent is available from the ward or from the specialist nurse.
Driving after surgery
It is your responsibility to ensure that you are fit to drive following your surgery.
You do not normally need to notify the DVLA unless you have a medical condition that will last for longer than three months after your surgery and may affect your ability to drive. You should, however, check with your insurance company before returning to driving. Your doctors will be happy to provide you with advice on request.
Privacy and dignity
Same sex bays and bathrooms are offered in all wards except critical care and theatre recovery areas where the use of high tech equipment and/or specialist one to one care is required.
Hair removal before an operation
For most operations, you do not need to have the hair around the site of the operation removed. However, sometimes the healthcare team need to see or reach your skin and if this is necessary they will use an electric hair clipper with a single-use disposable head, on the day of the surgery. Please do not shave the hair yourself or use a razor to remove hair, as this can increase the risk of infection. Your healthcare team will be happy to discuss this with you.
Is there any research being carried out in this field at Addenbrooke’s Hospital?
There is no specific research in this area at the moment but all operative procedures performed in the department are subject to rigorous audit at a monthly audit and clinical governance meeting.
Who can I contact for more help or information?
Uro-oncology nurse specialist
Bladder cancer nurse practitioner (haematuria, chemotherapy and BCG)
Prostate cancer nurse practitioner
01223 274608 or 216897 or bleep 154-548
Surgical care practitioner
01223 348590 or 256157 or bleep 154-351
Urology nurse practitioner (incontinence, urodynamics, catheter patients)
01223 274608 or 586748 or bleep 157-237
Urology nurse practitioner (stoma care)
Urology nurse practitioner (stone disease)
01223 349800 or bleep 152-879
Patient advice and liaison service (PALS)
Telephone: +44 (0)1223 216756
PatientLine: *801 (from patient bedside telephones only)
Mail: PALS, Box No 53
Hills Road, Cambridge, CB2 2QQ
Chaplaincy and multi faith community
Telephone: +44 (0)1223 217769
Mail: The Chaplaincy, Box No 105
Hills Road, Cambridge, CB2 2QQ
MINICOM System (‘type’ system for the hard of hearing)
Telephone: +44 (0)1223 217589
Access office (travel, parking and security information)
Telephone: +44 (0)1223 596060
What should I do with this leaflet?
Thank you for taking the trouble to read this patient information leaflet. If you wish to sign it and retain a copy for your own records, please do so below.
If you would like a copy of this leaflet to be filed in your hospital records for future reference, please let your urologist or specialist nurse know. If you do, however, decide to proceed with the scheduled procedure, you will be asked to sign a separate consent form which will be filed in your hospital notes and you will, in addition, be provided with a copy of the form if you wish.
I have read this patient information leaflet and I accept the information it provides.
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Cambridge University Hospitals
NHS Foundation Trust
Hills Road, Cambridge
Telephone +44 (0)1223 245151