Colonic Stent Placement
Colonic stenting is a technique used to treat obstructed portions of the large intestine. The technique makes use of a flexible, hollow tube called a stent to expand and open the blocked section of the colon. It is most effective for patients with colon cancer or other forms of bowel blockage.
Similar to a colonoscopy, your team of caregivers will insert an IV line into your arm during your colonic stent placement. This is to provide medication and necessary sedatives and ensure a comfortable procedure. You will also be given oxygen to breathe. Your doctor will ask that you lie on your left side in the fetal position (bringing your knees up to your chest).
Your doctor will then insert a lubricated colonoscope through your rectum. You may feel slight pressure or cramping. You will be given sedatives to reduce any discomfort you may feel.
Your doctor will use the colonoscope to view the blockage in your colon. X-rays and fluoroscopic imaging technology may also be used to locate the blockage and position the stent accurately. Once located, a soft wire is placed over the blockage and a thin tube with the stent is positioned over it, helping expand the obstructed colon.
Because colonic stenting requires entry into the gastrointestinal tract, your doctor will also ask that you prepare your bowels before the procedure. This preparation may take place up to three days before your stenting and may require you to alter your diet, take medication, or use an enema. This is to ensure your procedure is safe and yields accurate results.
Colonic stenting is generally a safe procedure. Despite the unlikelihood of a complication occurring, the procedure does carry certain risks. These risks include nausea, bloating and rectal irritation, as well as rectal bleeding and postoperative pain. Though rare, there is also a chance that the stent moves out of place, which is called stent migration.