Biodegradable biliary stent implantation in the treatment of benign bilioplastic-refractory biliary strictures: preliminary experience
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To evaluate feasibility, safety, and outcome of patients treated with biodegradable biliary stents for benign biliary stenosis refractory to other treatments.
Between March 2011 and September 2012, ten patients (seven men, three women; age 59 ± 7 years) with recurrent cholangitis due to postsurgical biliary stricture, previous multiple unsuccessful (two to five) bilioplasties, and unsuitability for surgical/endoscopic repair underwent percutaneous implantation of a biodegradable biliary stent. Patients were followed-up clinically and with ultrasound at 1, 3 and 6 months, and then at 6-month intervals.
Stent implantation was always feasible. No immediate major or minor complications occurred. In all patients, 48-h cholangiographic control demonstrated optimal stent positioning and stenosis resolution. In a median follow-up time of 16.5 months (25th–75th percentiles = 11–20.25 months) no further invasive treatment was needed. Three patients experienced transient episodes of cholangitis. Neither re-stenosis nor dilatation of the biliary tree was documented during follow-up. No stent was visible at the 6-month follow-up.
Percutaneous placement of biodegradable biliary stents represents a new option in treating benign biliary stenoses refractory to treatment with bilioplasty. This technique seems to be feasible, effective and free from major complications. Further investigations are warranted to confirm our preliminary results.
• Percutaneous biodegradable stents can be used to treat benign biliary stenosis.
• They can be used in patients refractory to bilioplasty.
• The procedure for insertion appears free from major complication.
• Biodegradable stents may represent an alternative device to covered expandable stents.
KeywordsBenign biliary stricture Bilioplasty Biodegradable stents Biliary tree Percutaneous biliary procedures