A stent is a hollow tube made from metal or plastic that is used as a support structure to keep an obstructed area of the body open. Enteral stents are used within the esophagus, stomach, duodenum and colon and are routinely placed for obstructions caused by tumors, either to make the patient more comfortable or as a bridge to surgery. Enteral stenting has recently expanded to include management of benign conditions such as leaks, fistulas, and strictures or narrowings in the GI tract.
For most patients, the placement of a stent is performed as a minimally invasive, outpatient endoscopic procedure with an overnight hospital stay. For esophageal or swallowing difficulties, stent placement typically offers immediate and long lasting relief.