I spent some time today talking to a good friend who is a consultant urologist; apparently ureteric stents are inserted under general anaesthetic unless the patient might not be able to cope with the anaesthesia, as otherwise it’s a pretty painful process.
Interestingly, they are not tubes (as most stents are) but instead are more like wires. It was explained to me that it’s a bit like putting a hexagonal pencil into a tube … the fluid can pass between the pencil and the tube wall, and the pencil prevents the tube from being pinched closed.
The ends of the wires are formed into coils, one of which rests in the kidney (presumably in the renal pelvis?) and the other in the bladder. Unfortunately the coil in the bladder often rubs against the bladder as the patient moves around, causing discomfort, bleeding, etc. They also only last about 6 months before they have to be replaced, and depending on the degree of inflammation/crushing, they may not work very effectively.
All of which further convinces me that I do need to find a long-term solution to the abscess problem. The concern being, what solution?
The more I think about it, the more I like the idea that my consultant mooted of a tertiary referral to somewhere that sees larger numbers of more unusual cases, to see what they think of me. At the end of the day, referrals are inexpensive, and a second pair of (fresh) eyes never hurts. Unless there are strong reasons otherwise, I’d still prefer to stick with my current consultant for the actual treatment though. I trust him and have faith in his abilities, and that counts for a lot.