Journal 4, April 2011pages: 230-233
Background: Esophageal perforations and postoperative esophageal leaks are associated with substantial morbidity and mortality and pose a difficult therapeutic challenge.
Objectives: To evaluate the outcome of removable self-expanding metallic stents (SEMS) as a treatment for postoperative leaks and perforations of the esophagus and stomach.
Methods: We conducted a retrospective study of all patients in one medical center who underwent temporary insertion of a covered plastic stent for postoperative leaks and perforations of the esophagus and stomach from June 2009 to February 2010. Data were retrieved from hospital and outpatient clinical data charts. Data included indication for insertion, post-insertion outcome including stent complications, and follow-up after stent removal.
Results: The indications for stent insertion were postoperative leak in four patients and postoperative esophagopleural fistula in one patient. Three of the patients had a leak at the gastro-esophageal junction following laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy. In all cases the stent insertion was completed successfully. In three patients the stent migrated distally. In two of these three it was repositioned or replaced endoscopically, and in the third it was excreted in the feces. Stents were removed electively after 6 to 7 weeks. All patients recovered fully and were discharged from the hospital.
Conclusions: SEMS insertion may have an important role in the management of postoperative leaks and perforations of the esophagus and stomach and should be considered in such cases.