WHAT IS A NEPHROSTOMY TUBE?

A nephrostomy tube is a small, soft, plastic tube used to temporarily drain the kidney. Most nephrostomy tubes are less than 5 mm in diameter.

WHAT DOES A NEPHROSTOMY TUBE LOOK LIKE?


WHAT SHOULD I EXPECT WHEN I HAVE A NEPHROSTOMY TUBE?

  • Hematuria
    You might see blood in your urine when you have a nephrostomy tube. In most cases, the blood will give the urine a fruit punch-like appearance. Although this may seem alarming, please know that it is unlikely that you are losing a significant amount of blood. The degree of hematuria can be minimized by consuming liquids (strive for 2 liters per day). 

  • Discomfort
    Some patients complain of pain associated with a nephrostomy tube, whereas others complain of no discomfort whatsoever. In most cases, the mild discomfort associated with a nephrostomy tube can by managed with oral pain medications.

  • Leakage of Urine
    It is not uncommon for a small amount of urine to leak around the nephrostomy tube. Sometimes there may also be a small scab or crusting around the nephrostomy tube. The nephrostomy tube may be cleaned when you shower, but please do not submerge the nephrostomy tube in a bathtub.

WHAT SHOULD I CALL MY DOCTOR FOR WHEN I HAVE A NEPHROSTOMY TUBE?

  • Fever
    It is not normal to have a fever with a nephrostomy tube. If you develop a temperature greater than 101oF please call your doctor, as this may indicate a serious infection. 

  • Bleeding
    Although mild hematuria is normal, if the urine becomes thick with blood, so that it resembles the consistency of tomato soup, call your doctor, as this may indicate that there is bleeding in the kidney. 

  • Large Urine Leakage
    Although it is normal to leak a small amount of urine around the nephrostomy tube, if you begin to leak a large amount of urine around the nephrostomy tube, and especially if no urine is draining through the nephrostomy tube, call your doctor, as this may mean that the tube is blocked or has become dislodged. 

  • Increasing Pain
    If the character of the discomfort associated with the nephrostomy tube changes, particularly if you begin to develop severe kidney pain, call your doctor, as this may indicate that the tube is not working properly.

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