A doctor removes a kidney stent either by pulling it out with the attached string, if applicable, or by inserting a camera and removing the stent with a small grasping instrument, according to Dr. Mike Nguyen. With either method, patients typically do not experience pain during the removal.
In cases where the string is intact, the patient can remove his own stent at home, but some patients prefer to let their doctors do it, states Dr. Nguyen. Removal is a simple process of grasping the string firmly and pulling continuously. The stent is flexible and comes out easily in most cases. Leaving the string in place after stent placement has downsides, including some mild irritation and the possibility of the string snagging on clothing, which can lead to premature and unintentional removal.
To remove the stent with a camera, or cytoscope, the doctor applies lidocaine to numb the area, enters the bladder with the cytoscope to identify the stent, then uses a grasper to remove the stent and cytoscope simultaneously, explains Dr. Nguyen. The process is quick, and only a minority of patients experience discomfort. Discomfort is more common with men, due to the length of their urethras. Patients may avoid discomfort by relaxing rather then clenching, and, in some cases, watching the process on camera with the doctor can assist with relieving discomfort.