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Percutaneous Nephrostomy: Background, Indications, Contraindications

  • Posted on- Apr 16, 2018
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Percutaneous Nephrostomy (PCN) is a medical procedure that involves the placement of a small, flexible rubber tube or catheter through the skin into the kidney to drain the urine while using imaging as guidance.

How does Percutaneous Nephrostomy help?

Percutaneous Nephrostomy helps in decompressing any ureteral obstruction in the renal collection system, which affects the normal flow of urine in human anatomy. PCN is a clinical intervention to remove kidney stones and to help the urinary tract function normally.

Steps to take before Percutaneous Nephrostomy

The doctor may conduct certain tests such as blood and urine tests, X-ray of the patient’s kidney, ureters, and bladder, CT scan and MRI scan to get a clear view of his internal organs, Cystoscopy, and renal nuclear scan to assess the complete urinary system. Discuss with the doctor the risks, benefits, and the post-surgery care of the treatment.

What happens during Percutaneous Nephrostomy?

The surgery is performed under general anesthesia and is done under ultrasonographic or special X-ray guidance. The doctor makes a small incision on the back of the patient, and a needle is passed through the skin into the kidney.

Special instruments are then passed through the needle. After this, a tube is placed in the kidney and another tube is placed in the ureter to drain urine from the kidney. The surgical site is covered with dressings.

After Percutaneous Nephrostomy

The patient will be under medical observation for the next 24-hours. The hospital stay is usually for 1 to 2 days.

What are the advantages of Percutaneous Nephrostomy?

The advantages of Percutaneous Nephrostomy are:

  • Improves the flow of urine.
  • Relieves the pain occurring because of kidney stones.
  • The imaging system helps in assessing the correct size of the kidney stone.
  • Prevents any damage or infection to the urinary tract or the kidney.

What are the various risks associated with Percutaneous Nephrostomy?

The risks associated with Percutaneous Nephrostomy are:

  • Bowel injury and peritonitis.
  • Reaction to anesthesia.
  • Bleeding.
  • Urine leak.
  • Pneumothorax.

What is the limitation of Percutaneous Nephrostomy?

The major limitation of Percutaneous Nephrostomy is displacement of the catheter.


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