Nephrostomy insertion in Cyprus

A nephrostomy is a procedure in which Dr Zertalis uses ultrasound (US) and X-Rays (fluoroscopy) to insert a fine plastic tube (catheter) through the skin into your kidney to drain your urine. The urine drains externally (outside the body) in a bag.


The urine from a normal kidney drains through a narrow tube (the ureter) into the bladder. The most common reason for having a nephrostomy inserted is blockage of the ureter. When the ureter becomes blocked the normal flow of urine from kidney to bladder is disrupted and urine accumulates in the kidney. If left untreated this can lead to urosepsis (infection) and renal failure (kidney impairment).

 The benefits of nephrostomy insertion and drainage of urine include:

  • Prevention and/or treatment of urosepsis (infection)
  • Prevention and/or treatment of renal failure (kidney impairment)


Nephrostomy is safe, effective and accurate procedure, but as with any medical procedure there are some risks and complications that you may uncommonly experience. 

Bleeding: Significant bleeding requiring treatment is rare (0.1%). Blood-stained urine in the bag is common and this should clear in less than 48 hours. 

Infection: This is uncommon complication. You will be given antibiotics before the procedure and you will be monitored during and after the procedure to check for signs of infection.  

Urinoma: Uncommonly there may be a leak of urine from the kidney, resulting in a small collection of fluid inside the abdomen (urinoma). If this becomes a large collection, it may require draining under local anaesthetic.

Allergy to contrast (X-ray dye): Most adverse events are mild and can be managed safely in our department. A major life-threatening contrast reaction is rare (< 0.005%).

Kidney Impairment: Impairment of kidney function can occur following the treatment due to the contrast agent or dehydration. You will have a drip placed before the procedure. This is to give you sufficient fluids to minimise the risk of problems with kidney function. 

Radiation Risk: Immediate harmful effects such as skin burns, or radiation sickness are extremely rare. The radiation dose you receive during the procedure is monitored to prevent this. On rare occasions the procedure will have to be stopped if the threshold for immediate harmful effects is reached. Increase in lifetime risk of cancer due to radiation per examination is also rare (< 0.001%).

Failure: Very rarely, Dr Zertalis will be unable to place the drainage catheter satisfactorily in the kidney. If this happens, you may require a repeat procedure or a small operation to overcome the blockage.

Dr Zertalis will explain the procedure and ask you to sign a consent form. Please feel free to ask any questions that you may have and, remember that even at this stage, you can decide against going ahead with the procedure if you so wish.

Before the procedure

The procedure is performed under local anaesthetic and sedation if required. Relevant bloods test will be undertaken before the procedure and if your blood clotting is abnormal, blood transfusion may be necessary to correct this. If you have any concerns about having a blood transfusion, you should discuss these with Dr Zertalis.  A short and thin plastic tube (cannula) will be placed into a vein in your arm. 

Please let Dr Zertalis know about any medications you take, any allergies you may have and if you previously have had a reaction to the x-ray dye (contrast).

The procedure

You will be asked to change into a hospital gown and lie on your front or side in the position that 

Dr Zertalis has decided is most suitable. You will have devices attached to your chest, arm and finger to monitor you pulse, blood pressure and oxygen levels. You will be given a sedative to relieve anxiety and painkillers where necessary. This is standard for all minimally invasive interventional radiology procedures performed in Cyprus.

The procedure is performed under sterile conditions and Dr Zertalis will wear sterile gowns and gloves to carry out the procedure. The skin near the point of insertion will be swabbed with antiseptic and you will be covered with sterile drapes.

Your skin near the point of insertion will be numbed using local anaesthetic. When the local anaesthetic is injected you will likely experience a burning sensation for 30 to 60 seconds. 

Dr Zertalis will use ultrasound (US) and X-Rays (fluoroscopy), to place a fine needle accurately into the kidney followed by the insertion of a guidewire over which the small plastic tube (catheter) is inserted. This catheter will then be fixed to the skin surface and attached to a drainage bag. 

Every patient is different, however, expect to be in the radiology department for up to 1 hour.

After the procedure

You will be transferred to your ward where your pulse, blood pressure, oxygen levels and the entry site in the skin will be checked by our team at regular intervals. You should expect to be in bed for up to 6 hours until you have recovered. The nephrostomy catheter remains in place in your body for the time being and will be attached to a drainage bag. With regards to how long the tube will stay in, Dr Zertalis will discuss this with you in detail.

Need more information?

Legal Notice

Medical information on our website was prepared in line with evidence-based practice at the time of writing. Our aim is to make the information as up to date and accurate as possible, but please be aware that it is always subject to change. We cannot accept any legal liability arising from its use. You are strongly advised to check specific advice on the procedure or any concerns you may have with Dr Zertalis.