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A systematic review of biodegradable biliary stents: promising biocompatibility without stent removal

Siiki, Anttia; Sand, Juhanic; Laukkarinen, Johannaa,b

European Journal of Gastroenterology & Hepatology: August 2018 - Volume 30 - Issue 8 - p 813–818
doi: 10.1097/MEG.0000000000001167
Review Articles: Gastroenterology

Biodegradable self-expanding stents are an emerging alternative to standard biliary stents as the development of endoscopic insertion devices advances. The aim was to systematically review the existing literature on biodegradable biliary stents. In-vivo studies on the use of biodegradable stents in the biliary duct were systematically reviewed from 1990 to 2017. Despite extensive research on the biocompatibility of stents, the experience so far on their clinical use is limited. A few favorable reports have recently been presented on endoscopically and percutaneously inserted self-expanding biodegradable polydioxanone stents in benign biliary strictures. Another potential indication appears to be postcholecystectomy leak of the cystic duct. The main benefit of biodegradable stents is that stent removal can be avoided. The biocompatibility of the current biodegradable stent materials, most prominently polydioxanone, is well documented. In the few studies currently available, biodegradable stents are reported to be feasible and safe, also in humans. The initial results of the endoscopic use of these stents in benign biliary stricture management and for treating postcholecystectomy bile leaks are promising. Further controlled studies on long-term clinical results and cost-effectiveness are needed.

aDepartment of Gastroenterology and Alimentary Tract Surgery, Tampere University Hospital

bFaculty of Medicine, Medical School, University of Tampere, Tampere

cHospital District Administration, Päijät-Häme Central Hospital, Lahti, Finland

Correspondence to Antti Siiki, MD, PhD, Department of Gastroenterology and Alimentary Tract Surgery, Tampere University Hospital, Teiskontie 35, FIN-33521 Tampere, Finland Tel: +358 331 1611; fax: +358 331 164 358; e-mail:

Received February 22, 2018

Accepted March 19, 2018

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