Plastic or metal stents for benign extrahepatic biliary strictures: a systematic review

BMC Gastroenterol. 2009 Dec 17;9:96. doi: 10.1186/1471-230X-9-96.


Background: Benign biliary strictures may be a consequence of surgical procedures, chronic pancreatitis or iatrogenic injuries to the ampulla. Stents are increasingly being used for this indication, however it is not completely clear which stent type should be preferred.

Methods: A systematic review on stent placement for benign extrahepatic biliary strictures was performed after searching PubMed and EMBASE databases. Data were pooled and evaluated for technical success, clinical success and complications.

Results: In total, 47 studies (1116 patients) on outcome of stent placement were identified. No randomized controlled trials (RCTs), one non-randomized comparative studies and 46 case series were found. Technical success was 98,9% for uncovered self-expandable metal stents (uSEMS), 94,8% for single plastic stents and 94,0% for multiple plastic stents. Overall clinical success rate was highest for placement of multiple plastic stents (94,3%) followed by uSEMS (79,5%) and single plastic stents (59.6%). Complications occurred more frequently with uSEMS (39.5%) compared with single plastic stents (36.0%) and multiple plastic stents (20,3%).

Conclusion: Based on clinical success and risk of complications, placement of multiple plastic stents is currently the best choice. The evolving role of cSEMS placement as a more patient friendly and cost effective treatment for benign biliary strictures needs further elucidation. There is a need for RCTs comparing different stent types for this indication.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Cholestasis, Extrahepatic / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Metals*
  • Plastics*
  • Risk Assessment
  • Stents* / adverse effects
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Metals
  • Plastics