A tube placed in the esophagus to keep a blocked area open so the patient can swallow soft food and liquids. Esophageal stents are made of metal mesh, plastic, or silicone, and may be used in the treatment of esophageal cancer.
Esophageal cancer is a debilitating disease for patients and symptoms often do not present until late in the disease process. In fact, the majority of esophageal cancer patients present with Stage III and Stage IV cancer at diagnosis. Radiation therapy, chemotherapy, surgery, and metallic stents all play a role in providing palliative treatment to these patients. Surgery, while a viable option in early stages of esophageal cancer, may not be an option for Stage III and Stage IV patients. Radiation and chemotherapy are often used in combination to reduce the size of the tumor and potentially offer hope for a surgical cure.
Metal stents help to relieve dysphagia, allowing the patients to maintain nutritional support perorally versus enteral nutrition. Metal stents are delivered via a small introducer system designed to keep the stent constrained until deployment. Upon endoscopic and fluoroscopic visualization of stent position, the delivery system is released and the stent deploys to its pre-constrained outer diameter.
Since the early 1990's, thousands of doctors have placed endoscopic metal stents to provide symptomatic relief of dysphagia in patients suffering from esophageal malignancy and TE fistula caused by malignancy.
Boston Scientific offers both the Ultraflex™ Esophageal Stent and the WALLSTENT® Esophageal II Endoprosthesis for the management of malignant esophageal strictures. These stents are offered in both covered and non-covered iterations.