Esophageal stent

Last revised by Dr Rohit Sharma on 02 Sep 2022

Esophageal stents are a treatment option in patients with esophageal strictures. It is most commonly used for symptomatic relief in those with dysphagia secondary to malignancy. The stent is typically covered in nature and inserted endoscopically or fluoroscopically. The distal esophagus is the most common site. Most stents inserted are self expandable.

There are several types of stents, which include self expandable stents:

  • ultraflex stent
  • wall stent
  • Z stent

Complications associated with stents include:

  • pain
  • bleeding: a small amount of hematemesis can be common especially with self expandable metal stents 2
  • stent slippage/migration
  • tumor overgrowth
  • esophageal perforation (rarely)

Somewhat surprisingly the word 'stent' is actually an eponym, originally named after Charles Stent (1807-1885), a largely-forgotten British dentist. He invented an improved material for forming dental impressions, and set up a company to manufacture it. During the Great War, J F Esser, a Dutch surgeon used a mold of Stent's Compound as a fixative for skin grafting in injured infantrymen. This innovative use, was rapidly adopted into practice, and stenting as a concept rapidly segued into multiple specialties.

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