Cancer diagnosis and treatment at West Cancer Center involves a team of experts in multiple specialties. This multidisciplinary, team-based approach provides the net comfort to our patients that they are going to receive the best care available, right here in Memphis. 


What is Nephrostomy Drainage?

This is a procedure in which a catheter is placed through your skin into the kidney to drain urine. Normally, tubes called ureters, drain urine from the kidney to the bladder. When they are blocked or when they have holes in them, urine cannot drain into the bladder. Nephrostomy tubes are placed to allow the urine to drain and allow the holes to heal. Sometimes a nephrostomy tube is placed prior to kidney surgery or some other procedure on the kidney or ureter.

You will be given antibiotics and pain medication medications through your IV before the procedure. The radiologist will use a local anesthetic to numb the skin on your back where the nephrostomy is to be placed. This local anesthetic is like the shot the dentist uses. You will not be put to sleep. First, the radiologist places a needle into the kidney. Next, he or she will place a guide wire further into the kidney and will place the drainage catheter. The procedure usually takes 1-2 hours.

How do I prepare for the procedure?

No solid food after midnight the day before your procedure. Clear liquids are allowed the morning of your procedure unless otherwise directed.

Medication Instructions for all Interventional Procedures:

  1. You must be off your blood thinners for 5 days prior to procedure. These medications include aspirin, Plavix, Coumadin (Warfarin), and Pletal.
  2. If you are on any of these medicines, please inform the doctor that prescribed them before stopping them.
  3. Please notify your West Cancer Center nurse or doctor if they are not aware you are taking these medicines.
  4. If you have any questions regarding your meds, including if they are blood thinners, please call 901-922-6707.
  5. Take any additional routine medications the day of the procedure. If you are on insulin ask your doctor about any adjustments that may be needed.

Your arrival time is 1 ½ hours prior to your procedure. We will need the additional time to do necessary lab tests, start an IV, ask pre-procedural questions and do a nursing assessment.

Following the procedure you will need to recover in a bed at our facility for 4 to 6 hours before going home.

You will need someone to drive you home. You will not be allowed to drive yourself. If you do not have someone to drive you your test will be rescheduled. You cannot use public transportation.

Printable Instructions

To print a copy of these instruction, click here for a printable PDF.