Nephrostomy Tube Placement

Also known as: percutaneous nephrostomy tube placement, PCN placement.

What is nephrostomy tube placement?

A nephrostomy tube is a form of catheter, or thin plastic tube, that is inserted into the kidneys. The purpose of a nephrostomy tube is to drain urine from the body during a medical procedure or when the body is unable to drain urine for other reasons.

What happens during the procedure?

Nephrostomy tube placement is typically performed under local anesthesia. The area for the procedure is numbed, and ultrasound is used to guide the catheter into position as it enters the kidney. Once in position, the catheter is connected to a bag in order to drain urine from the kidneys.

Is any special preparation needed? 

The patient will need to avoid food, drink or certain medications before a nephrostomy tube placement.

What are the risk factors? 

Infection, bleeding, damage to surrounding organs and tissues and blood in the urine are possible risks of nephrostomy tube placement.

Reviewed by: Felix I Ramirez-Seijas, MD

This page was last updated on: July 29, 2022 04:51 PM


The Division of Nephrology at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital treats kidney disorders and provides comprehensive evaluation of renal functions, including kidney biopsies.

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