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Self-expanding plastic stent to palliate symptomatic tissue in/overgrowth after self-expanding metal stent placement for esophageal cancer


  • Author contributions: M.C. conceived and designed the study, and drafted the manuscript; S.B. and R.F. contributed to data extraction and interpretation; A.D.C. drafted the manuscript. All the authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Dr Massimo Conio, MD, Garibaldi 187, 3, 18038 Sanremo (IM), Italy. Email:


Self-expanding metal stents (SEMS) are used to treat obstructive malignancies of the esophagus or esophagogastric junction; however, a potential complication is recurrent dysphagia because of tissue in/overgrowth. The placement of a second SEMS is one strategy to re-establish patency of the esophageal lumen. We evaluated the safety and efficacy of an alternative and likely less costly approach: placing a self-expanding plastic stent (SEPS) to manage relapsing dysphagia in patients previously treated with a partially covered SEMS. From December 2007 to January 2009, 13 patients previously treated with a SEMS for malignant dysphagia underwent treatment by inserting a SEPS to palliate relapsing dysphagia, as a result of tissue in/overgrowth. Stenosis was located in the upper esophagus in one patient, in the middle in four patients, and in the lower esophagus in eight patients. Clinical evaluation was performed at the time of stent placement, after 1 week, and then, monthly until death. The SEPS was successfully placed in a single treatment session for all patients. No preliminary dilation was required, and no further treatment was necessary for any patient. Before stenting, the median dysphagia score was 4 (range 3–4), and 1 week later the score was 0 for all patients. The resolution of dysphagia persisted until patient death (from tumor progression). The mean survival after the SEPS insertion was 4 months (range 3–8). This case series supports the use of a SEPS to palliate dysphagia from tissue in/overgrowth of a SEMS. Future clinical trials with larger patient samples are warranted.