A nephrostomy is a procedure in which a catheter (tube) is inserted through the skin and into the kidney to drain it of urine. Urine drains into a bag outside the body.
When urine is produced in the kidney it drains downwards through a tube called the ureter and is stored in the bladder until urination occurs. When this tube is blocked, urine backs up into the kidney. Kidney damage can occur because of this backflow of urine. A nephrostomy is placed so that the urine may drain, preventing further damage to the kidney.
Nephrostomy may be performed:
- when the ureter is blocked by a kidney stone
- when the ureter is blocked by a tumor
- when there is a hole in the ureter or bladder and urine is leaking into the body
- as a diagnostic procedure to assess kidney anatomy
- as a diagnostic procedure to assess kidney function