Treating Ureteral Obstructions

What is a Ureteral Obstruction?

A ureteral obstruction is a blockage in one or both of the ureters that lead from the kidneys to the bladder. The obstruction is typically caused by kidney stones, tumors, trauma or an enlarged prostate. A ureteral obstruction can be a curable condition. However, if it’s not treated, symptoms can quickly move from mild (pain, fever, infection) to severe (loss of kidney function, sepsis, even death).


A ureteral obstruction is principally treated by a urologist. In the majority of cases, a urologist is able to non-invasively remove the obstruction. If the urologist cannot remove the obstruction, they will seek to bypass the obstruction by placing a temporary ureteral stent that reaches from the bladder, up the ureter and into the kidney. Each year, more than 2 million ureteral stents are implanted in patients worldwide.* However, a ureteral obstruction can be so severe that the urologist will refer the patient to an interventional radiologist or an endourologist for an emergency interventional procedure.


Today, most patients treated for severe obstructions will need to undergo two separate, one-hour interventional procedures. Each procedure is performed in a hospital with the patient under sedation.

First Procedure: The physician uses standard interventional techniques to insert a percutaneous nephrostomy catheter through the patient’s flank into the kidney. A drainage bag is then attached to the catheter. Urine will drain into the bag and be disposed of by the patient during the days after the procedure. The patient will often be discharged within 24 hours.

Second Procedure: The second procedure is conducted 3–14 days later after the initial kidney puncture site has healed. While the patient is under sedation, the physician removes the nephrostomy catheter and implants a ureteral stent. The stent enables urine to bypass the obstruction and be naturally voided.


BrightWater has developed the ConvertX Stent – a new technology that eliminates the need for two interventional procedures. Learn more about the ConvertX Stent.

ConvertX™ Stent

Optimized for Severe Ureteral Obstructions

BrightWater Medical has developed the ConvertX Stent, the only device that can convert to an internal ureteral stent without a second interventional procedure. The stent conversion is done in less than one minute during an office visit.* The patented ConvertX technology is developed to provide the following benefits over currently available devices and procedures:


only one procedure

Eliminates the need for a second invasive procedure


simplifies patient treatment

Designed to reduce the procedural challenges for the patient


treat more patients

Provides doctors with more time to treat more patients


reduces exposure

Fewer procedures means less radiation exposure for patients, MDs, and staff


reduces healthcare costs

Reduces costs for payers and providers*


For full instruction details please refer to the product Instructions for Use

The Team

Management Team

Bob Smouse, MD

Founder, CEO, and CMO

Dr. Smouse has over 20 years of experience in interventional radiology, endovascular surgery, clinical research, scientific advisory boards, and advising industry participants. Dr. Smouse is currently a Professor of Radiology & Surgery and the University of Illinois College of Medicine. Dr. Smouse is also CEO of ELGCO, LLC, a medical device incubator.

Kent Stalker

VP R&D and Operations

Mr. Stalker has over 25 years of experience in medical device R&D and manufacturing, including 17 years with Guidant Corporation. He is a named inventor on 50 patents and managed the successful development of 26 medical technology products, including multiple market leading cardiovascular devices.

Dan Heilbrunn

VP Marketing and Business Development

Mr. Heilbrunn has over 20 years of strategic marketing and business development experience in the healthcare industry, including senior management positions with Nexeon MedSystems and CeloNova BioSciences and 8 years with Guidant Corporation. Prior to BrightWater, Mr. Heilbrunn launched and managed multiple products spanning coronary, peripheral, and neurovascular therapy areas. He has a proven expertise developing and managing novel technologies in established and emerging therapy areas.

Ted Karmon

VP Sales

Mr. Karmon has over 25 years of experience in medical device sales, including multiple senior management positions with start-ups and larger corporations. Throughout his career he has focused on new technology and new therapy areas. Mr. Karmon’s sales management successes include recruiting and leading teams at St. Jude Medical, Avinger, Fox Hollow Technologies, and Guidant Corporation.

Board of Directors

Bob Smouse, MD

BrightWater Medical, Founder, CEO, and CMO. University of Illinois College of Medicine, Professor of Radiology & Surgery.

Stanley Lynall, CPA

OSF HealthCare System, Vice President of Venture Investments. Central Illinois Angels, Co-founder and Board Member.

Mel Schatz

Sonoma Medical Consultants, President. Past CEO of Crux Biomedical (acquired by Volcano Corporation). Past President and CEO of Bacchus Vascular (acquired by Covidien).

Chas Taylor

Veryan Medical, CEO. Novate Medical, Founder and Director. Past Co-founder of MedNova (acquired by Abbott Laboratories).

Dan Heilbrunn

BrightWater Medical, VP Marketing and Business Development.

Medical Advisory Board

Barry Katzen, MD

Founder and Medical Director of Miami Cardiac & Vascular Institute. At the Institute since 1987, Dr. Katzen has been a leader in the development of interventional radiology and multi-disciplinary models for delivering cardiovascular care.

Lindsay Machan, MD

Associate Professor Department of Radiology, University of British Columbia, Associate Member, Division of Vascular Surgery, Associate Member, Department of Urologic Sciences.

Alan Matsumoto, MD

Chairman, University of Virginia Department of Radiology and Medical Imaging. Past president of the Society of Interventional Radiology (SIR).

Rod Raabe, MD

Director of Radiology at Sacred Heart Medical Center, Spokane, Washington. Dr. Raabe was a founder of Sapheon, Inc., recently acquired by Covidien plc.

Saher Sabri, MD

Professor of Radiology at Georgetown University School of Medicine.

Michael Treanor, MD

Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine (Gastroenterology), University of Illinois College of Medicine, Peoria.

Bret Wiechmann, MD

Medical Director, Vascular & Interventional Physicians, Gainesville, Florida. Chief of Staff and Chief of Interventional Radiology, North Florida Regional Medical Center, Gainesville, Florida.

Contact Us


BrightWater Medical
42580 Rio Nedo Road
Temecula, CA 92590

icon-phone 951.290.3410