Percutaneous nephrostomy

If your urine is being blocked by stones or other obstructions, inserting a tube into your kidney can help to drain it


Urine is produced in the kidneys. It then passes into the bladder through muscular tubes called 'ureters'. Sometimes, clots, cancers or kidney stones can block one or both ureters. This stops urine from leaving the body naturally.

A nephrostomy can help to drain urine from the body using a thin plastic tube called a catheter.

Need to know

  • What happens icon plus

    Your consultant will use an X-ray or ultrasound to find the best place to insert the catheter. They will then numb an area of skin on your back using a local anesthetic, before inserting the tube into the affected kidney. The catheter will drain urine from the kidney into a bag, which can be worn under your clothes. Your consultant will explain how often and for how long you'll need a nephrostomy.
  • How to prepare icon plus

    Your consultant will explain the procedure and how to prepare for it. They will also be happy to answer any questions you might have.
  • Afterwards icon plus

    Your consultant will let you know when you can get back to your usual routine, including work or exercise.

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This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.
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