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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.
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.