Background: Proximal migration of a biliary stent is an uncommon event, but its management can present a technical challenge to the therapeutic endoscopist. Methods: We reviewed the methods that have been used for retrieval of proximally migrated biliary stents in a referral endoscopy center. Results: Forty-four cases were identified; 38 stents (86%) were extracted successfully. Half of the stents were retrieved after first passing a guide wire through the stent lumen. Various accessories were then used to withdraw the stents, the Soehendra device being the most popular. Nearly one third were retrieved by grasping the stents directly, usually with a wire basket or forceps. The remainder were recovered after using a stone retrieval balloon alongside the stents to provide traction indirectly. Interventional radiology techniques were needed in two cases, and surgery in one. Conclusions: Cannulating the stent lumen with a wire is often the best approach in patients with a biliary stricture or a nondilated duct. An over- the-wire accessory can then be used to secure the stent. In patients with a dilated duct, indirect traction with a balloon or direct grasping of the stent with a wire basket, snare, or forceps is usually successful. Using these techniques, most proximally migrated biliary stents can be retrieved endoscopically.
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