Glossary Entry: Nephrostomy Tube


Definition: A nephrostomy tube is a catheter placed into the kidney through the skin to drain urine from the kidney. It is commonly used to relieve urinary obstruction, divert urine away from the kidney, or allow access for surgical procedures.

Detailed Description

Types and Variations

Variations: Nephrostomy tubes come in different sizes and may have additional features such as a locking loop or pigtail catheter design, which can affect their specific applications and suitability for different patient needs.


Common Uses: Nephrostomy tubes are commonly used in cases of kidney stones, tumors, or other conditions causing blockage of the urinary system and in situations where direct drainage or access to the kidney is required.

Insertion and Placement

Procedure: The placement of a nephrostomy tube involves the use of imaging guidance to carefully insert the tube into the kidney through a small incision in the skin. Specific techniques like the Seldinger technique may be employed to ensure accurate and safe placement.

Clinical Considerations

Potential Complications

Risks: Potential complications of nephrostomy tube placement include bleeding, infection, and damage to surrounding structures such as the bowel or blood vessels.

Care and Maintenance

Maintenance Requirements: Proper care and regular flushing of the nephrostomy tube are essential to prevent blockages and maintain its function. Care should also be taken to keep the insertion site clean and free from infection.

Additional Information

Related Devices

Associated Terms: Nephrostomy tubes are often used in conjunction with drainage bags or collection systems to manage urine output and ensure proper disposal.

Innovations and Advancements

Recent Developments: Recent advancements in nephrostomy tube technology have focused on improving tube durability, reducing the risk of dislodgment, and enhancing patient comfort during use.

Regulatory and Safety Notes

Regulations: Healthcare providers should adhere to relevant regulatory standards and safety guidelines when performing nephrostomy tube placements to ensure patient safety and optimal outcomes.