Nephrostomy Care

Signature Health Services can help with the management and treatment of a nephrostomy.

Nephrostomy and How how we care for it

The primary purpose of a nephrostomy is to facilitate urine drainage from the kidney when normal urinary flow is obstructed or when the ureter, the tube that carries urine from the kidney to the bladder, is blocked.

There are several medical conditions and situations that may require the placement of a nephrostomy tube:

  • Urinary tract obstruction – When a urinary stone, tumor, or other obstruction prevents the regular flow of urine from the kidney, this is the most common reason.
  • Infection – To drain infected urine from the kidney to stop the spread of infection.
  • Trauma or injury – After a kidney injury or surgery to help drain urine and allow the kidney to heal.
  • Preparation for surgery – A nephrostomy tube may be placed before certain kidney surgeries to facilitate the procedure.
  • Diagnostic purposes – In some cases, a nephrostomy may be performed to collect urine samples directly from the kidney.

The nephrostomy procedure generally involves the following steps:

  • 1
    Preparation – The patient is usually positioned on an X-ray table, and the skin overlying the kidney is sterilized.
  • 2
    Local anesthesia – It is administered to numb the area where the tube will be inserted, reducing pain and discomfort.
  • 3
    Guidance imaging – Using ultrasound, fluoroscopy, or CT scans, the healthcare provider locates the kidney and guides the insertion of the nephrostomy tube.
  • 4
    Tube insertion – A thin, flexible tube (the nephrostomy tube) is inserted through the skin into the kidney’s renal pelvis.
  • 5
    Securing the tube – The tube is secured with a suture or other devices, and a dressing is applied.
  • 6
    Post-procedure imaging – Another round of imaging may be done to confirm the correct placement of the tube.

Living with a nephrostomy tube can be challenging, but it is essential for managing specific medical conditions. Some key points to consider include:

  • Maintenance – The tube requires regular care and maintenance to prevent infections or blockages – This includes cleaning the area around the tube, changing dressings, and following the healthcare provider’s instructions.
  • Daily activities – While it may limit certain physical activities, many individuals can adapt to their daily routines with a nephrostomy tube in place. It’s crucial to discuss activity restrictions and modifications with your healthcare provider.
  • Emotional support – Living with a nephrostomy can be emotionally challenging. Reaching out to support groups, counselors, or therapists can help you cope with the changes.
  • Follow-up care – Regular follow-up doctor appointments are required to monitor the condition and function of the nephrostomy tube, address any issues, and make adjustments as needed.
  • Possible removal – In some cases, the nephrostomy tube can be removed once the underlying condition is resolved. Your healthcare provider will make this decision.
The cost of medical treatment depends on your health needs and medical insurance particularities. However, a skilled nurse will always be prepared to meet any treatment and care requirements you may have.
Skilled nurses at Signature Health Services provide postoperative patients with specific information about drinking/eating, caring for drainage tubes, skin and wound care, ambulation, self-care, and signs and symptoms that require medical attention. Nursing care includes written information and demonstrations of such activities as care of the wounds and drains.

During the postoperative or chronic care period, our nurses serve as a source of information and monitor patient progress. Follow-up calls and visits to patients and families after surgery are essential in determining the welfare of the patient, offering suggestions for managing the patient’s care, and learning if any complications are developing. At the same time, Signature’s nurses can assess the psychological condition of the patient and their adjustment to a new way of living and suggest any needed resources.

picture of a nephrostomy procedure

For more information on how Signature Health Services can help with your healthcare needs, please call 1 (800) 277-8291 (option 1) or email


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