Self-expanding wire mesh stents have been developed for endoscopic placement across malignant biliary strictures, but tumor ingrowth may limit the usefulness of open mesh stents. We reasoned that coating the wire mesh might prevent tumor ingrowth. Tissue response to covered and uncovered stents was compared in dogs. Stents were surgically placed in the bile ducts of 22 mongrel dogs through the sphincter of Oddi. Either a silicone-covered stent or an uncovered stent was inserted. Liver function test values remained normal throughout a 1- or 3-month study. Necropsy revealed that all ducts were unobstructed. Bile duct histologic examination revealed mild-to-moderate cellular infiltration in all animals. Mucosal hyperplasia was more marked in the animals with uncovered stents and the bare wires became deeply embedded in bile duct epithelium, whereas the wires of covered stents did not. We conclude that covered stents are well tolerated by the canine bile duct. These results suggest that such stents may be removable, making self-expanding metal stents an appropriate treatment for both benign and malignant biliary strictures.