Background: Recently, there has been an increase in clinical success rates using nonsurgical methods to resolve anastomotic biliary strictures (ABSs) that develop after liver transplantation (LT). However, some strictures are particularly refractory and cannot be completely resolved by an endoscopic or percutaneous procedure. Consequently, the aim of this study was to examine the feasibility and efficacy of using a newly designed fully covered self-expandable metal stent (FCSEMS) to resolve refractory ABS. Methods: A total of 35 patients with an ABS that developed after LT, but could not be resolved by an endoscopic or percutaneous procedure, were included in this study. FCSEMSs were positioned endoscopically and removed after 2-3 months. After stent removal, the patients were followed to assess complications, including re-stenosis. Results: The mean period from LT to stricture was 13.7 months, and the mean duration of the stricture was 31.8 months. The type and mean number of procedures previously attempted were endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) (9.1 ± 5.1) in 19 patients and percutaneous transhepatic biliary drainage (9.2 ± 4.8) in 16 patients. All patients had successful FCSEMS insertions and removals; the mean stent indwelling time was 3.2 months. The mean follow-up period was 18.7 months (range: 6.4-37.8 months). Stricture recurrence was observed in 6 of 29 patients (recurrence rate: 20.7%). The anastomotic stricture resolved with the FCSEMS insertion in 29 of 35 patients (clinical success rate: 82.9%). Conclusions: The newly designed FCSEMS is a potentially feasible and effective treatment for anastomotic strictures that develop after LT but are not amenable to treatment by conventional procedures.
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