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Gastrointest Endosc. 2001 Aug;54(2):162-8.

Long-term results of endoscopic management of postoperative bile duct strictures with increasing numbers of stents.

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  • 1Digestive Endoscopy Unit, Department of Surgery, Catholic University, Rome, Italy.



Endoscopic dilation with stents has been proposed as an alternative to hepaticojejunostomy for management of postoperative biliary strictures. Good long-term results with double 10F plastic stent insertion for 1 year have been reported in 74% to 90% of cases. This is a review of our experience with a more aggressive approach.


The technique, short-term results, and long-term results of placement of increasing numbers of stents until complete disappearance of the biliary stricture are reported. At each exchange, the maximum possible number of stents in relation to the tightness of the stricture and diameter of the bile duct were inserted. All stents were removed at the end of treatment.


The records of 45 of 55 patients with postoperative biliary strictures treated in this manner and observed consecutively were reviewed retrospectively. By intention-to-treat analysis the success rate was 89% (40/45). Early complications developed in 4 (9%) patients (3 cholangitis, 1 pancreatitis) and stent occlusion that required early exchange occurred in 8 (18%) patients. There was 1 death caused by a stroke 2 months after a stent exchange. Forty-two patients completed the protocol (mean number of stents 3.2 +/- 1.3; range 1-6). Mean duration of treatment was 12.1 +/- 5.3 months (range 2-24 months). Two patients died of unrelated causes during follow-up. Among the remaining 40 patients there was no recurrence of symptoms caused by relapsing biliary stricture at a mean follow-up of 48.8 months (range 2-11.3 years). One patient sustained 2 episodes of cholangitis but without stricture recurrence.


This more aggressive approach to endoscopic treatment with stents may improve long-term results for patients with postoperative biliary strictures.

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