A stent (or spring device) is the metal medical device used to keep a body cavity open. It is an endoprosthesis, also described as a ‘vascular tutor’ in French.
Structure of a stent
The stent is shaped like a metal cylinder and can be of different sizes and diameters depending on its use.
Insertion of a stent
When inserted into the cavity, the stent is positioned on a deflated balloon. The balloon is inflated, dilating the stent that then maintains its new final diameter.
Applications of a stent
A stent is most often used to maintain the diameter of arteries, in angioplasties. These tend to become obstructed (by atheromatous plaques), reducing their diameter.
They can also be used for other natural conduits such as the urethra, bile ducts and even in new methods of surgery (bronchial transplants).
A stent is a cylindrical metal endoprosthesis. © Franck C. Müller, Wikimedia, CC by-sa 2.5