Stent for a blocked duodenum

If the pancreatic cancer is blocking the duodenum (first part of the small intestine), it can make you feel sick. You may have a stent put in to keep the duodenum open.

A stent put into your duodenum is called a duodenal stent. It should stop you being sick and you should start to feel like eating again.

How is the stent put in?

You may go into hospital the day before the stent is put in, or on the day. You will be asked not to eat or drink for at least eight hours beforehand to make sure that your stomach and duodenum are empty. Tell your doctor or nurse if you have diabetes, as this might affect your care before the stent is put in.

You will have a sedative by an injection, which will make you very sleepy and relaxed. A tube with a camera on the end, called an endoscope, is put in through your mouth and down into the duodenum. A fine wire is then used to guide the stent into place inside the duodenum.

The procedure takes 30-40 minutes.

Diagram of a duodenal stent

A diagram of a stent for a blocked duodenum

What happens afterwards?

You will be told when you can drink again. This is usually once the sedative has worn off. Once you are able to drink without problems you will be able to eat. At first you will have softer foods so that the stent doesn’t get blocked. You may need to stay in hospital overnight but this will depend on how quickly you recover.

Will I feel better?

After the stent has been put in you should find that your symptoms begin to improve. For example, you should stop feeling sick and find it easier to eat.

The stent should help food move more easily through your duodenum. But you will need to be careful what you eat to make sure the stent doesn’t get blocked. If you need advice or are having problems, speak to your dietitian. Read our tips for eating after having a duodenal stent put in.

Questions about duodenal stents?

If you have any questions about having a duodenal stent put in, speak to your doctor or nurse.

You can also speak to our specialist nurses on our free Support Line.

Speak to our nurses
A specialist nurse taking a phone call.

Updated February 2019

Review date February 2021