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Self-expandable metal stents in malignant biliary obstruction.

Malignant biliary obstruction can be due to direct tumor infiltration, extrinsic compression, adjacent inflammation, desmoplastic reaction from tumors or, more commonly, a combination of the above factors. Pancreatic cancer is the most common cause of malignant biliary obstruction, and jaundice occurs in 70-90% of the patients during the course of the disease. Compared with the uncovered metal stents, covered metal stents have longer patency and a lower rate of tumor ingrowth, but have a higher rate of stent migration. To combat the occlusion and provide an antitumor effect, drug-eluting stents were developed. A duodenal stricture complicates biliary stent placement in 10-20% of patients with distal biliary obstruction due to pancreatic cancer. When both strictures are considered, a biliary stent can be placed either preceding or following duodenal stent placement. Complications of self-expandable metal stents include stent occlusion, stent migration, cholecystitis and pancreatitis.

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