Mar 15, 2017

Colonic stenting

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What is a colonic stent?

Your doctor has recommended the placement of a colonic stent to improve your symptoms of a blockage in the bowel. A colonic stent is a self-expanding wire mesh tube that is designed to hold open a blockage in the bowel. A medical specialist trained in the technique implants the stent via the rectum. 

Once implanted the stent will expand into a 20mm wide support structure, which is intended to stay in place permanently. The symptoms of blockage - bloating, nausea, constipation and pain - should be relieved by the treatment. Most people cannot feel the stent once it is in. It will not rust, nor interfere with daily activities. 


Is colonic stent insertion safe?

Complications of colonoscopy are uncommon. Most surveys report complications in 1 in 1000 examinations or less. Perforation (making a hole in the bowel) or major bleeding from the bowel is extremely rare. In the unlikely event of these complaints occurring, a blood transfusion or operation may be necessary. 

On occasions colonic stents may fall out and be passed in a bowel motion. If this occurs your blockage symptoms may return and the stent may need to be replaced.

If you wish to have full details of rare complications, you should indicate to your nurse before the procedure that you wish for all possible complications to be fully discussed with the doctor.


How should I prepare?

Before a stent can be inserted, your bowel must be flushed free of waste. If your bowel is completely blocked you will be admitted into hospital so nurses can help you. If your bowel is partially blocked you may be able to prepare at home, with help from friends or family. 

Please follow the instructions to ensure a complete bowel washout with Glycoprep. Glycoprep is a safe preparation that will induce diarrhoea and thoroughly cleanse the lining of the bowel. 

  • Three days before your appointment follow a low residue diet and discontinue iron. 
  • Two days before your appointment continue a low residue diet.
  • One day before you appointment 
  1. Have a normal sized breakfast from the selection on your diet sheet. You have been sent two Bisocodyl laxative tablets. Take these after your breakfast.
  2. Eat a light lunch. Do not eat after 12 midday. You may drink clear fluids.
  3. Reconstitute Glycoprep at midday. Dissolve the contents of the sachet in three litres of tap water and refrigerate.
  4. Start drinking Glycoprep at 3-5 p.m. You should drink 1 glass every 5-10 minutes, aiming to complete 3 litres over 3 hours.
    1. Once you start drinking Glycoprep you must not eat until after your colonoscopy.
    2. Feelings of bloating or nausea may occur after the first few glasses of Glycoprep. Slowing the rate of drinking can decrease nausea. Nausea should resolve after the bowel motions begin.
    3. Keep warm while you are drinking Glycoprep.
    4. Drink unsweetened clear drinks during or after drinking Glycoprep to prevent dehydration. Drinks should be warm or hot if you are feeling cold.


  1. When the Glycoprep is completed, you should be passing colourless or clear yellow fluid from your back passage. If you are passing solids or dark fluid, you must come to the gastroenterology department by 7.30 am the next day.


  1. If you are passing solids or dark fluid, you must come to the gastroenterology department by 7.30 am.
  2. If you are passing clear or pale yellow fluid from your back passage you may drink sweetened clear fluids.

What happens after the stent is inserted? 

You will be required to stay in hospital for one or two nights so that the medical team can monitor you and treat any problems, if these occur. If your recovery is uncomplicated, you will be able to drink clear fluids four hours after the procedure, and eat soft food the following day. 

You may be able to return to a full diet, but this will depend on your symptoms. A dietician will see you while you are in hospital to advise you the foods you should eat and how best to prepare them.