Metal Stents for Hilar Lesions

Department of Internal Medicine, Saint Vincent Hospital, Worcester, MA, USA.
Gastrointestinal endoscopy clinics of North America 07/2012; 22(3):555-65. DOI: 10.1016/j.giec.2012.05.009
Source: PubMed


Strictures at the hilum are caused by varied conditions and don't usually become symptomatic until obstructing the bile ducts, thus posing diagnostic and therapeutic challenges to physicians. ERCP is the method of choice for tissue diagnosis and decompression. MRCP or MRI with dedicated liver protocol provides a unique ability to visualize anatomy and promote procedure planning. In patients with unresectable tumor, endoscopic biliary stenting is a palliative approach. Percutaneous or EUS-guided approach is reserved for endoscopic failure. Various new modalities such as radiotherapy, chemotherapy and Photodynamic therapy have emerged but their superiority needs to be confirmed with Randomized Control studies.

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    ABSTRACT: Endoscopic stenting is a widely accepted strategy for providing effective drainage in both extrahepatic and intrahepatic malignant strictures. In patients with extrahepatic malignancies, uncovered self-expanding metal stents (SEMS) provide excellent palliation. Hilar malignancies are probably best palliated by placement of uncovered SEMS although some disagreement exists among experts regarding the type and number of stents for optimal palliation. Preoperative biliary drainage (PBD) is commonly performed although a higher risk of complications and the lack of clear benefit raise questions about this practice. Certain groups of patients such as those with markedly elevated bilirubin levels, and in those in whom neoadjuvant therapy is planned, are good candidates for PBD. Considerable controversy exists regarding the optimal method as well as type of stent for PBD in patients with hilar malignancies. Novel endoscopic therapies, including photodynamic therapy and radiofrequency ablation, have emerged as potential adjuvant therapies in the management of malignant bile duct strictures but need further long-term evaluation to establish survival benefit. This review focuses on the current status of endoscopic therapies for malignant biliary obstructions.
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