WHAT IS A STENT?
A stent is a hollow tube made of a flexible alloy mesh. Stents can be rolled up tightly to the size of a pencil to allow them to be inserted through the blockage or tumour in the esophagus or bowel. Once in place, stents are allowed to expand and therefore keep open the passage through the tumor.
WHY ARE STENTS USED?
Stents can be used for the following reasons: Stents are suitable for patients who have complete or partial esophagus or bowel obstruction (blockage). The aim of a stent in these patients is to relieve the obstruction, especially if the patient is not considered suitable for surgery. In patients who have potentially curative cancers, where the esophagus or bowel is obstructed, a stent is used prior to surgery. Placing a stent allows the esophagus or bowel to empty and return to its normal size and this can make eventual surgery safer.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF HAVING A STENT PLACMENT?
Stenting is a minimally invasive procedure which relieves the pressure within the esophagus or bowel allowing free passage of its contents. Stenting can be used as an alternative to surgery in patients who are medically unfit or have metastases (spread of disease). These patients can avoid major surgery and the need of a stoma.