Plastic bile duct stents typically last three to four months before they need to be replaced, and metal stents last twice as long, according to Drugs.com. Doctor visits following the procedure involving X-rays, magnetic resonance imaging and additional tests may be required to determine if the patient's stent has moved.
Bile is a fluid that excretes from the liver, says Drugs.com. The fluid is stored in the gallbladder, but it passes through the bile duct to get to the intestines to help the body digest substances from food, such as fats. A blocked bile duct can lead to itching, stomach pain, decreased liver function and back pain. Complications that may lead to a blocked bile duct include cancerous tumors, gallstones and strictures.
To improve the flow of bile in the bile duct, the physician typically performs an endoscopic biliary stenting procedure on the patient, as claimed by Drugs.com. During the procedure, the physician uses a tubular device, known as an endoscope, equipped with a camera and a light at the end to insert a plastic or metal tube, called a stent, in the bile duct to widen it well enough to allow bile to pass. The procedure alleviates symptoms that arise from having a blocked bile duct.