Fletcher Allen, a Vermont university hospital and medical center, serves all of
Vermont and the northern New York region. Located in Burlington, Fletcher Allen is a regional, academic healthcare center and teaching hospital in alliance with the University of Vermont.
Drainage Tube Care
How do I care for my nephrostomy tube at home?
It is helpful to have one or two people who can assist with dressing changes and to monitor the skin around the tube. It may be very difficult for you to reach on your own. If there is no one available, you may require Home Health Services.
You or your helper may be taught how to instill sterile saline into the tube daily. Flushing prevents bits of debris from closing off the holes in the tube and helps to keep it open and working.
You will be taught how to empty the drainage bag. If you are on chemotherapy, your helper will empty your drainage bag. They should wear gloves to minimize their exposure to chemotherapy drugs that may be excreted in your urine.
Keeping the tubes secure:
To prevent the tube from getting pulled out, it needs to be secured to the skin at all times. NEVER leave a tube dangling, as it is at risk or in danger of being caught and dislodged. If this occurs, place a Band-Aid or sterile dressing over the site and call the Radiology Department. Remember…if the bag isn’t filling up then urine is unable to drain from your kidney.
Always put gauze around the tube next to the skin (under plastic disc) then tape the disc securely to the skin. Change dressing three times a week and whenever necessary. Clean around the tube with soap and water. (Use a mild non-perfumed soap). Apply bacitracin ointment to the skin around the tube insertion site if it looks red and irritated. If drainage bag is used, secure it so it does not pull on the tube, especially while walking. It is preferable to secure the bag on the thigh not the calf. Empty the bag when it is ½ full. If the tube drains a lot, the nurses can give you a bigger bag to use at night so you do not have to wake up to empty it. Both of the above bags and drainage tubing should be rinsed with warm water and vinegar at least twice a week.
You may shower, tape saran wrap or press’n seal over the dressing. If the dressing becomes wet, replace it with a dry one.
CALL THE INTERVENTIONAL RADIOLOGY OFFICE IF:
- Tube drainage decreases severely or stops and does not clear with irrigating tube.
- You have sustained a fever (100.4 F or 38 C)
- There is a leakage around the tube at the skin.
- You have increased pain.
- If the tube becomes dislodged, DO NOT try to push it back in or replace it.
What is the follow up care?Patients should expect to follow up with either the Surgical or the Interventional Radiology Team.
Nephrostomy tubes must be changed every 12 weeks if kept in place for long period of time. Upon discharge from our department you will receive an appointment to have them changed. If you do not have the tubes any longer or you cannot keep your appointment please call the number in the card.
Please contact the Interventional Radiology Department at (802) 847 3663 to schedule a tube check appointment.
Please contact the Interventional Radiology Office at (802) 847-8359 Monday – Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. with any questions.
This information is provided by the Fletcher Allen Healthcare Department of Radiology, Division of Interventional Radiology and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or health care provider. Please consult your health care provider for advice about a specific medical condition. For additional health information, please contact your health care provider.