Luminal stenting is a procedure in which devices, called stents, are surgically placed within the gastrointestinal (GI) tracts of patients to expand the lumen (inner space) and correct serious obstructions. Obstructions may be masses within the intestines or other external tissues. Stent placement is usually safe and are performed endoscopically.
What is it?
Stents are used to clear a pathway within the body. Sometimes the esophagus or the colon is obstructed due to cancerous tissues. Depending on the condition in need of treatment, stents may be temporary or permanent.
What should I do to prepare?
A patient should talk to his or her doctor about current medications and supplements being taken and make modifications in preparation for the procedure. It is imperative that patients do not take blood thinners in the days leading to the surgery and that they refrain from eating or drinking on the day of the surgery. It is recommended that patients stop smoking to avoid procedural complications. Additionally, transportation accommodations should be made because the patient will be impaired by medicated and be unfit to drive following the procedure.
What happens during the process?
During the procedure, the patient will be given an IV that will cause him or her to feel drowsy. The patient is given a mouth guard for the procedure, supporting the mouth opening so that an endoscope may be inserted into the esophagus to examine the obstruction. Once there is a clear view of the blockage the surgeon will inflate a balloon inside the esophagus to create space. After that, the stent is placed. Patients may return home on the day of the surgery, but are instructed only to eat liquid foods for the first day. A patient should communicate with his or her doctor to find out when a solid diet can be resumed.
What are the risks and potential complications?
Luminal stenting possesses many risks, including, but not limited to infection, blood clot, and the possibility that the stent could dislodge.
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