Aim: To assess the usefulness of self-expandable metal stents in the recanalization of cervical and/or hypopharyngeal strictures. Materials and Methods: We report our experience in 10 patients with inoperable cervical and/or hypopharyngeal strictures treated by implantation of 11 uncovered self-expandable metal stents inserted perorally under fluoroscopic guidance. The stent was placed in the hypopharynx and cervical oesophagus in 3 patients and cervical oesophagus alone in 7. There were 8 men and 2 women, mean age 70.2 years, range 45-85 years. All patients but two had malignant stricture caused by squamous cell carcinoma, in one case there was a benign postoperative stenosis secondary to laryngectomy, and in the last patient a local recurrence from thyroid cancer. Results: Eleven stents were placed in 10 patients: technical success was achieved in 9 cases while clinical improvement was obtained in 8 cases. Seven of ten patients had a rapid improvement of dysphagia. One patient had a distal misplacement of the prosthesis, while in the other two cases stent position was very proximal and interfered with swallowing. A mean 9-month follow-up was obtained (range 3-24 months). Four patients with malignant stricture developed proliferation of neoplastic tissue after 2-5 months. The only patient treated for a benign stricture developed inside proliferation of granulation tissue after 4 months. Conclusion: Despite several technical difficulties and a high rate of late complications, recanalization of cervical oesophageal strictures by self-expandable metal stents allowed good palliation of symptoms. Stents proved to be effective and well tolerated palliative treatment also for hypopharyngeal stenoses. © 2002 Published by Elsevier Science Ltd on behalf of The Royal College of Radiologists.
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