Flexible endoscopic strategies for the difficult esophageal stricture.

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Benign strictures of the esophagus, caused by various causes, are frequently encountered in clinical practice. Although endoscopic dilation is still the standard and first-line therapy, complex and difficult esophageal strictures are still encountered and remain a challenge to endoscopists. The main scope of this review article is to offer a closer look at the different endoscopic modalities and approaches to complex and difficult esophageal strictures.In the past few years, endoscopic dilatation, stents including self-expandable and biodegradable types, incisional therapy, and pharmacological treatments have been utilized in the prevention and management of refractory and recurrent esophageal strictures. Meanwhile, more recent techniques such as the BougieCap, percutaneous transgastric endoscopic myotomy, through-the-scope stents, radial incision and cutting, etc. have been developed as alternative methods. A number of studies utilizing these newer methods have shown promising results in the treatment of complex and difficult esophageal strictures.Endoscopic treatment of refractory, complex and difficult esophageal strictures still remains to be a challenge for many endoscopists. While balloon or bougie dilatation still remains to be the first-line approach, other techniques have emerged as treatment alternatives and may become adjunct therapy to endoscopic dilatation.

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