A research group in Spain recently reported that stenting may be one solution for relieving the blockage caused by endometriosis.
Endometriosis occurs when tissue from the uterus grows in other body regions, such as the ovaries, fallopian tubes or the bowel. This can be a painful condition and affects over 6.3 million American women and millions worldwide.
A stent is a device that is place in a body cavity to hold it open. Stents are frequently used to open blood vessels that have been blocked, but they can be used in other body regions as well to maintain an opening.
Self-expanding metal stents can be used for colon blockage caused by a variety of factors. The stent by itself may solve the problem, or it can be a temporary procedure used until surgery is possible to remove the blockage. Little information has been collected about use of stents for this purpose, and more needs to be understood about possible problems related to stent placement.
The research involved a single case report. Led by Maria Navajas-Laboa of the Endoscopy Unit, Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Galdakao-Usansolo Hospital, Galdakao, Vizcaya, Spain, the authors sought to identify solutions for blockage caused by endometriosis. In their study, entitled “Colonic obstruction caused by endometriosis solved with a colonic stent as a bridge to surgery“, the team stated “After reviewing the existing literature, we found only one case of stent placement in an intestinal obstruction caused by endometriosis, as a bridge to surgery.”
A 39-year-old came to the emergency room with abdominal pain and reports of vomiting. She had an endometrial cyst in her right ovary, and had taken oral contraceptives since puberty to treat the problem. A month before the emergency, she stopped taking the contraceptives. Doctors placed a stent as a temporary solution to remove the blockage and then performed surgery 7 days later.
It therefore seems that stenting is not a common treatment for this condition, but it may be a possible solution at least temporarily. In this case of one woman in whom a stent was placed prior to surgery, the stent successfully removed the blockage and did not cause other medical problems.
Problems can however, occur with stenting. The authors remarked “The use of prostheses in benign disease has a higher rate of complications such as stent migration and gut perforation. Such complications are even more likely to happen when the stent has been placed as a bridge to surgery and it is delayed for more than 7 days.”
The longer a stent remains, the higher the likelihood that problems can occur. In this case study, the stent was successfully placed with no complications, prior to surgery to solve the blocked bowel issue.
The authors concluded that “This is the case of a young woman presenting an acute intestinal obstruction related to endometrioma. Stent placement was used in this case as a bridge to surgery with successful results.”