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Enteral stents for the management of malignant colorectal obstruction

Todd H Baron, MD
Ryan Law, DO
Section Editor
John R Saltzman, MD, FACP, FACG, FASGE, AGAF
Deputy Editor
Kristen M Robson, MD, MBA, FACG


Enteral stents are used as a nonsurgical alternative for the palliation of luminal gastrointestinal neoplasms, particularly in the esophagus and biliary tract [1]. They are commonly used in the treatment of obstruction in other areas of the gastrointestinal tract, such as the stomach, proximal small bowel, and colon.

This topic will review the use of self-expanding metal stents (SEMS) in the management of malignant colonic obstruction. The surgical management of malignant colonic obstruction and stenting of other portions of the gastrointestinal tract are discussed elsewhere. (See "Use of expandable stents in the esophagus" and "Enteral stents for the palliation of malignant gastroduodenal obstruction" and "Overview of pancreatic stenting and its complications" and "Treatment options for locally advanced cholangiocarcinoma", section on 'Stenting'.)


The indications for stent placement in patients with malignant colonic obstruction include [2-8]:

Palliation of surgically incurable colorectal cancer. (See "Locoregional methods for management and palliation in patients who present with stage IV colorectal cancer", section on 'Nonsurgical palliative options'.)

Stenting as a bridge to surgery to avoid an emergent, two-step procedure and to allow for optimization of medical status and for preoperative staging including colonoscopy. (See "Overview of mechanical colorectal obstruction", section on 'Stenting malignant obstruction' and "Clinical presentation, diagnosis, and staging of colorectal cancer".)

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Literature review current through: Oct 2017. | This topic last updated: Sep 07, 2017.
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