Plastic biliary stents were developed for the palliative treatment of malignant bile duct obstruction. Drainage depends on the shape and size and to some extent the material used to make the stent. Plastic stents provide biliary decompression and drainage and are effective in improving the biochemical and clinical condition of patients with malignant obstructive jaundice. Biliary stent placement has also been used to treat benign biliary strictures and in patients with acute cholangitis and large, nonextractable bile duct stones. Long-term complications of biliary stent placement include blockage by bacterial biofilm and biliary sludge. Thus, routine stent exchange to avoid recurrent jaundice and cholangitis is generally recommended.
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