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What can I Expect After Esophageal Stent Placement?

Post-esophageal stent placement, anticipate relief in swallowing difficulties, though mild discomfort or pain may occur initially. Dietary adjustments are common, as is a short-term increase in reflux symptoms. Regular follow-ups ensure stent functionality and patient comfort. Wondering how to optimize your recovery and manage your new dietary needs? Continue with us for comprehensive guidance on living with an esophageal stent.
Christina Whyte
Christina Whyte

Patients undergoing esophageal stent placement can expect an improvement in esophageal obstruction symptoms right away. The recovery period after the insertion of an esophageal stent will differ depending on the reason for the stent, but it should be relatively easy and painless if the insertion of the stent is the only procedure required. In general, patients will need to modify their diets to accommodate the stent and will need to watch for signs of complications such as stent movement or infection.

An esophageal stent is a metal or plastic tube inserted into the esophagus through the mouth; it is intended to remain in place over time and hold the esophagus open. A placement procedure is done when there is some kind of obstruction or tightness in the esophagus that prevents the patient from swallowing normally. Dysphagia is the general term used to refer to swallowing problems, and it can be caused by conditions as diverse as a tumor, stroke, a degenerative brain disease, muscular dystrophy, infection, and many other diseases and conditions. Stents commonly are inserted as part of the treatment of esophageal cancer, but they are also frequently used for other conditions that cause obstruction or tightness of the esophagus.

After an esophageal stent placement, patients must consume food that is soft and moist, such as gelatin.
After an esophageal stent placement, patients must consume food that is soft and moist, such as gelatin.

Patients may be allowed to go home shortly after an esophageal stent procedure, or they may be required to stay in the hospital for a couple of days for monitoring. A hospital stay is particularly likely if other procedures, such as removal of an esophageal tumor, were done at the same time as stent placement. Some patients may have other indications that make complications more likely, and they also are likely to need to stay longer in the hospital. The doctor performing the procedure will be able to answer questions about the length of the hospital stay for a particular patient.

While recovering from surgery, patients must take care to sit upright while eating to ensure food goes through the stent.
While recovering from surgery, patients must take care to sit upright while eating to ensure food goes through the stent.

Patients with an esophageal stent will need to modify their diets so food is easier to swallow. Foods need to be moist and soft, and well-chewed with no sharp or bulky pieces that may get stuck in the stent and obstruct the esophagus. Patients will also need to sit upright while eating and remain in an upright position for a while after eating to ensure that food goes through the stent and the esophagus smoothly. A qualified doctor or nutritionist can provide a list of foods that are appropriate and inappropriate, and can also give patients meal ideas to help during the adjustment period.

An esophageal stent placement is used to treat dysphagia.
An esophageal stent placement is used to treat dysphagia.

As with any medical procedure, some complications may arise related to the anesthesia used when inserting the esophageal stent, the procedure itself, or the healing period. Patients need to be aware and notify their doctors immediately if they have concerns. There may be some discomfort or feelings of tightness, but patients should not experience pain after esophageal stent placement. If patients do experience pain, this may be a sign of stent movement or misplacement that can result in injury or infection. Pain or feeling like the stent has moved is an indication that the patient should consult with a doctor.

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    • After an esophageal stent placement, patients must consume food that is soft and moist, such as gelatin.
      By: nito
      After an esophageal stent placement, patients must consume food that is soft and moist, such as gelatin.
    • While recovering from surgery, patients must take care to sit upright while eating to ensure food goes through the stent.
      By: Darrin Henry
      While recovering from surgery, patients must take care to sit upright while eating to ensure food goes through the stent.
    • An esophageal stent placement is used to treat dysphagia.
      By: nebari
      An esophageal stent placement is used to treat dysphagia.
    • A patient may be required to stay in the hospital for a couple of days following an esophageal stent placement.
      By: Gennadiy Poznyakov
      A patient may be required to stay in the hospital for a couple of days following an esophageal stent placement.
    • A patient should consult with a doctor if he or she experiences pain or a feeling like a stent has moved.
      By: asierromero
      A patient should consult with a doctor if he or she experiences pain or a feeling like a stent has moved.