Nephrostomy Catheter Placement/Exchange
Percutaneous nephrostomy (PCN) tube is a catheter (plastic tube) that is inserted through your skin into your kidney. The nephrostomy tube is placed to drain urine from your body into a collecting bag outside your body.
You may need a percutaneous nephrostomy tube when something is blocking the normal path that your urine takes to leave your body. Urine from your kidneys passes through thin, narrow tubes called ureters. Your ureters are connected to your bladder where urine is stored for a time before you urinate. When stones or blood clots block your ureters, urine stays in your kidneys and will cause problems. The nephrostomy tube is put into drain your urine directly from your kidneys. You may need this tube if you have pelvic tumors, damage to the urinary system, prostate cancer, or other conditions.
If you already have a nephrostomy tube in place, it should be changed routinely every three months or so. We can do that simply by cutting the suture that holds it to the skin, inserting a guide wire into the catheter, and exchanging the old catheter for a new one over the guide wire. Once the new catheter is in the correct position the guide wire is removed, the new catheter is sutured in place and connected to a drainage bag.