While endoscopic management of benign biliary strictures (BBSs) is the standard of care, long-term treatment remains the issue in refractory cases, especially for anastomotic strictures after living-donor liver transplantation (LDLT) and hepaticojejunostomy anastomotic strictures (HJAS). The aim of this prospective study was to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of a fully covered self-expandable metal stent (FCSEMS) for patients with refractory BBSs.
 Patients with BBSs that were unamenable to endoscopic plastic stent placement with a treatment period of more than 6 months were eligible. An FCSEMS was placed endoscopically and removed after 90 days. In patients with surgically altered anatomy, an FCSEMS was placed using a double-balloon endoscope. The primary outcome was stricture resolution at FCSEMS removal. The secondary outcomes included stricture recurrence and adverse events.
 A total of 30 patients were enrolled: the causes of their BBSs were anastomotic stricture after LDLT in 13, HJAS in 12, post-cholecystectomy in two, chronic pancreatitis in two, and post-hepatectomy in one. The technical success rate of FCSEMS placement was 100 % and all FCSEMSs were successfully removed. The rate of stricture resolution at FCSEMS removal was 96.6 % (91.7 % in the post-LDLT group and 100 % in the HJAS group). Stricture recurrence occurred in three HJAS patients (10.7 %) during a median follow-up period of 15.6 months. Adverse events were observed in 12.1 %: five cholangitis, one pancreatitis, and one perforation.
 Temporary placement of an FCSEMS was a feasible and effective treatment option for refractory BBSs, especially for post-LDLT strictures and HJAS.

© Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York.