Background: Self-expanding metal stents have been used in the management of colorectal obstruction as an alternative to emergency surgery. Our aim was to systematically review the efficacy and safety of these stents in the setting of malignant colorectal obstruction.
Methods: Both English and foreign language reports were identified from Medline, Embase, Cancerlit, Science Citation Index, Cochrane Library, and proceedings of relevant meetings. Data were collected on technical success, clinical success, and safety parameters.
Results: Fifty-four studies reported the use of stents in a total of 1,198 patients. The median technical and clinical success rates were 94% (i.q.r. 90-100) and 91% (i.q.r. 84-94), respectively. The clinical success when used as a bridge to surgery was 71.7%. Major complications related to stent placement included perforation (3.76%), stent migration (11.81%), and reobstruction (7.34%). Factors related to an increased complication risk were identified. Stent-related mortality was 0.58%. Limited available data suggest that this approach may be cost effective in the preoperative setting.
Conclusion: Placement of self-expanding metal stents is an effective and safe definitive procedure in the palliation of malignant colorectal obstruction. In operable patients, it provides a useful option to avoid colostomy, by facilitating safer single-stage surgery.