Biodegradable esophageal stents for the treatment of refractory benign esophageal strictures

Authors Paraskevas Gkolfakis, Peter D. Siersema, Georgios Tziatzios, Konstantinos Triantafyllou, Ioannis S. Papanikolaou.


This review attempts to present the available evidence regarding the use of biodegradable stents in refractory benign esophageal strictures, especially highlighting their impact on clinical success and complications. A comprehensive literature search was conducted in PubMed, using the terms “biodegradable” and “benign”; evidence from cohort and comparative studies, as well as data from one pooled analysis and one meta-analysis are presented. In summary, the results from these studies indicate that the effectiveness of biodegradable stents ranges from more than one third to a quarter of cases, fairly similar to other types of stents used for the same indication. However, their implementation may reduce the need for re-intervention during follow up. Biodegradable stents also seem to reduce the need for additional types of endoscopic therapeutic modalities, mostly balloon or bougie dilations. Results from pooled data are consistent, showing moderate efficacy along with a higher complication rate. Nonetheless, the validity of these results is questionable, given the heterogeneity of the studies included. Finally, adverse events may occur at a higher rate but are most often minor. The lack of high-quality studies with sufficient patient numbers mandates further studies, preferably randomized, to elucidate the exact role of biodegradable stents in the treatment of refractory benign esophageal strictures.

Keywords Biodegradable stent, benign esophageal stenosis

Ann Gastroenterol 2020; 33 (4): 330-337

Invited Reviews