Design of an Anti-Migratory Esophageal Stent (Boston Scientific)
Both benign and cancerous medical conditions can obstruct the esophageal lumen, resulting in pain and severe difficulty swallowing. To alleviate these symptoms, esophageal stents can be used to hold the esophagus open. However, existing stent designs often migrate after they are placed in the esophagus. This movement reduces the efficacy of treatment and sometimes requires re-intervention to remove the stent, ultimately negatively affecting patient health. Boston Scientific asked the 2009-2010 SCOPE team to design an esophageal stent or stent-like device that reduced migration. The team presented several novel proof-of-concept ideas for such a stent. The 2010-2011 Boston Scientific Stent Team extended these ideas by further specifying and prototyping each design before examining the feasibility of each prototype through more robust experimental design. The team developed and performed assays to answer the questions, "Will this idea reduce migration?" and "Can a stent incorporating this idea be feasibly manufactured, deployed, and later removed if necessary?” Based on the results of this testing, the team made recommendations to Boston Scientific concerning the functionality and feasibility of each anti-migration concept and how to proceed with further development.