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Nephrostomy vs. Urostomy: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Harlon Moss || Published on March 7, 2024
Nephrostomy is a procedure to drain urine directly from the kidney; urostomy is a surgical creation of a stoma for urine to exit the body.

Key Differences

Nephrostomy involves inserting a tube directly into the kidney to drain urine, bypassing blockages in the urinary tract. Urostomy, on the other hand, involves creating a new pathway for urine to exit the body through a stoma in the abdominal wall, usually following the removal of diseased bladder tissue.
A nephrostomy is typically a temporary solution aimed at addressing kidney blockages or damage, a urostomy is a permanent alteration made to the urinary system. Both procedures are critical for different medical conditions but serve the same ultimate purpose: ensuring the body can effectively eliminate urine.
The decision between a nephrostomy and a urostomy depends on the underlying condition of the patient. A nephrostomy may be used for acute conditions that block urine flow, whereas a urostomy is considered in cases of chronic urinary system diseases or cancer.
Nephrostomy tubes can be placed on one or both sides of the body depending on the need for kidney drainage, while a urostomy requires the surgical creation of a stoma, or opening, that is connected to a pouch outside the body for urine collection.
In terms of care and management, a nephrostomy requires regular monitoring and changes of the drainage system, whereas a urostomy involves learning to manage and care for the stoma and the collection device. Both procedures significantly impact a patient's life but offer relief from severe urinary system disorders.

Comparison Chart


Direct drainage of urine from the kidney
Creation of a stoma for urine to exit the body


Temporary solution for urinary blockage
Permanent alteration for urinary elimination

Surgical Site

Abdominal wall for stoma creation

Duration of Use

Temporary, until the blockage is resolved

Post-Procedure Management

Regular tube monitoring and changes
Stoma and urine collection device management

Underlying Conditions Addressed

Kidney stones, strictures, or tumors blocking urine
Chronic bladder disease, cancer requiring cystectomy

Nephrostomy and Urostomy Definitions


Nephrostomy is used for kidney stone removal or urine diversion.
A nephrostomy tube was inserted to remove a large kidney stone effectively.


Urostomy is a surgical procedure to create an artificial urine passage.
Following bladder cancer surgery, the patient lived with a urostomy.


Nephrostomy is a medical procedure to create an opening from the kidney to the skin.
After the car accident, the patient required a nephrostomy to drain urine from his injured kidney.


It involves diverting urine to an external pouch through a stoma.
She learned to manage her daily activities with a urostomy pouch attached to her abdomen.


This procedure aids in treating kidney infections or damage.
Due to a severe infection, a nephrostomy was necessary to drain the pus from the kidney.


Urostomy requires long-term stoma care and maintenance.
He attended a workshop to learn about urostomy care and maintenance.


Nephrostomy provides an alternative route for urine drainage.
The nephrostomy ensured his kidneys could still function despite the urinary tract damage.


Urostomy is performed when the bladder is diseased or removed.
His urostomy was a result of having his bladder removed due to cancer.


It involves placing a catheter to bypass urinary obstructions.
The nephrostomy was performed to circumvent the blockage in her ureter.


This procedure allows for urinary elimination without a bladder.
A urostomy gave her a new way to eliminate urine after bladder removal.


(surgery) The creation of a nephrostome


Surgical construction of an artificial excretory opening from the urinary tract.


A surgically constructed opening in the urinary tract allowing urine to exit the body; the procedure of making such an opening.


What is nephrostomy?

A medical procedure to drain urine from the kidney directly through the skin.

What is urostomy?

A surgical creation of a new pathway for urine to exit the body through a stoma.

Is a nephrostomy permanent?

No, it's usually a temporary measure until the underlying issue is resolved.

Is a urostomy reversible?

Generally, it is considered a permanent procedure.

How is a nephrostomy performed?

Under imaging guidance, a tube is inserted through the skin into the kidney.

What does urostomy surgery involve?

Creating a stoma on the abdominal wall and attaching it to a urine collection pouch.

Why would someone need a urostomy?

Due to bladder removal from cancer, injury, or chronic bladder conditions.

What lifestyle changes are needed for a urostomy?

Learning stoma care, managing the collection pouch, and adjusting to physical activities.

When is a nephrostomy needed?

For urinary blockages, kidney stones, or infections that prevent normal urine flow.

Can you shower with a urostomy?

Yes, with proper waterproof covers or by temporarily sealing the stoma.

Can a nephrostomy tube get infected?

Yes, there's a risk of infection, which requires immediate medical attention.

What are the signs of complications with a nephrostomy?

Fever, pain, or leakage around the tube site indicate potential complications.

Can a nephrostomy affect kidney function?

When performed correctly, it does not harm kidney function and often aids in recovery.

Can you live normally with a nephrostomy?

Yes, with proper care and monitoring of the nephrostomy tube.

What materials are used for a urostomy pouch?

Durable, skin-friendly materials that can securely collect urine.

How often does a urostomy pouch need to be changed?

Every 3-7 days, depending on the system and individual needs.

How do you manage odor with a urostomy?

Using odor-proof pouches and regular cleaning can effectively manage odor.

What support is available for urostomy patients?

Support groups, stoma care nurses, and educational resources are available for assistance.

How long does a nephrostomy tube stay in?

It varies based on the condition being treated, from weeks to months.

What are the risks of a nephrostomy?

Infection, bleeding, and tube displacement are potential risks.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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