Nephrostomy is a common urologic or interventional radiology procedure in which a tube/catheter is introduced into the renal collecting system (usually the renal pelvis).

Nephrostomies can either be

  • "open" nephrostomy: after a urological surgical procedure, such as a UPJ stone removal
    • these tend to be larger caliber catheters and the open approach is less common now for initial access to the collecting system
  • percutaneous nephrostomy: performed with a needle-over-wire (Seldinger technique) using ultrasound or fluoroscopic guidance

A nephrostomy can be used to relieve pressure in a hydronephrotic kidney, drain purulent material in pyonephrosis, or obtain access/reaccess for upper tract stone removal.

The upper collecting system can be fluoroscopically evaluated by introducing water soluble contrast through the nephrostomy catheter (nephrostogram / antegrade pyelogram). This can be useful to determine tube position or assess for residual stones in the upper collecting system.

  • catheter dislodgement or kinking
  • catheter obstruction (clot, purulent material, stone)

"Nephrostomy" is a combination of "nephros" (kidney) and "stoma" (mouth), i.e. an opening into the kidney.

Urologic procedures
Share article

Article information

rID: 40938
System: Urogenital
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Nephrostomies

Support Radiopaedia and see fewer ads

Updating… Please wait.

Alert accept

Error Unable to process the form. Check for errors and try again.

Alert accept Thank you for updating your details.