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What is a prostatic urethral stent?

Marc B. Garnick, MD
Hematology & Oncology
A prostatic urethral stent is a small, spring-like cylinder designed to relieve pressure from prostatic tissue and improve urine flow. It is positioned in the narrowed area of the urethra and released to widen the channel.

Urethral stents are plastic or metal tubes that are placed inside the constricted urethra to keep it open. A collapsed stent is guided into position using a catheter and then expanded until it locks into place.

Stents have been used to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), or enlarged prostate, for about 20 years. The tubes are usually used as an alternative to an in-dwelling catheter. When used this way, the stent must be changed regularly. A comparative study of stents and catheters needs to be done to evaluate this use of stents.

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