The procedure makes swallowing of foods easier. It uses an esophageal stent (a kind of flexible mesh tube), which is placed inside the esophagus to create a wider space for foods to pass. The top gastroenterologist advices when to start eating and drinking after the stent is placed. Usually, it takes a couple of days for the stent to expand fully.
Esophageal stenting is done to clear any obstruction in the eseophaegus to allow foods pass smoothly into the stomach. It is a muscular tube that connects the stomach to the back of your mouth. Certain health problems may choke a part of the esophaegus making it difficult to swallow. The clinical term for this condition is called ‘Dysphagia’.
The common symptoms of Escophageal Stenting include difficulty in swallowing, feeling of food getting stuck in the chest, breathing issues, etc. Dysphagia may turn serious since it causes aspiration, leading to complications like pneumonia. What happens is that you inhale stomach contents and food into your lungs, resulting into aspiration. Only an Esophaegeal stenting helps resolve the problem.
The common reasons for esophaegeal stent procedure are a hole in the esophagus, unusual opening between the esophagus and trachea, erosion of esophaegus due to ulcer, cancer in upper part of the stomach and thinning of the esophaegus due to radiation treatment. If any of the problems arise that may cause Dysphagia, then immediate medical attention is required.
There is certain degree of risks and complications associated with esophaegeal stenting procedure. They may include movement of the stent, bleeding, pain in the esophagus, holes in the esophagus, gastroesophageal reflux and tumour growth in the stent. Needless to worry, esophaegel stenting is a relatively safe procedure but in case of complications it should be referred to the best gastroenterologist right away. Before esophaegeal stenting procedure, follow a few advices from your healthcare provider.
Before the Treatment
- Consult with your healthcare provider and tell him everything about your health condition. In case of any particular health disease or health problem, it should be notified to the doctor. After listening to the detail, the healthcare provider decides which medicines you take and the ones you should stop.
- Stop taking any food or liquid from the night before esophaegeal procedure.
- Intimate your doctor if you have allergic reactions to certain medicines and if you are pregnant.
- Generally, certain tests are recommended before stenting, but it is decided by the doctor which patient should undergo specific examinations. A barium swallow test is quite common that gives a lucid idea about the anatomy of the esophaegus.
- Most importantly, you should know about the possible benefits and risks, side effects, technique of the test and about an alternative procedure, if any.
How it is performed
If you are ready to undergo the test, this is how esophaegeal stenting is performed:
- In general, the procedure takes about an hour to perform. Some patients are administered sedations, while others are given general anaesthesia. The doctor decides which is the right option for a patient.
- In case of sedation, medicine is given through an IV to help the patient feel relaxed and sleepy during the process. To ensure relieve from throat pain, a numbing medicine is given on the back of the throat.
- In case of general anaesthesia, the patient is given anaesthetics through an IV channel to allow him sleep painlessly through the stenting procedure.
- To keep a tab of what is happening, the healthcare provider uses consistent x-ray images for evaluation. If the situation demands, he may use an endoscope to track diseases inside the esophaegus.
- The patient is constantly monitored during stenting for blood pressure, heart rate and other signs.
- The doctor gently pushes the folded stent through the catherter into the blockage site. Made out of plastic or metal, the stent helps open up inside the esophaegus.
- At the end, the doctor removes the catherter gently from the eseophaegus, leaving the stent in its position.
Since esophaegeal stenting is performed as an outpatient procedure, the patient is released on the same day. The recovery of esophaegeal stenting is quick and hassle-free. It is, however, a good idea to bring someone on the day of the procedure who can drive you home later.
Although, you may observe certain discomfort immediately after stenting, this tends to last for a couple of days. Listen to any specific instructions by the top gastroenterologist about your recovery. In medical situations like acid reflux and fever, it should be informed to the doctor.