In medicine, a stent is a man-made 'tube' inserted into a natural passage/conduit in the body to prevent, or counteract, a disease-induced, localized flow constriction. The term may also refer to a tube used to temporarily hold such a natural conduit open to allow access for surgery.
The illustration shows the placement of a stent in a coronary artery with plaque buildup. Figure A shows the deflated balloon catheter
and closed stent inserted into the narrowed coronary artery. The inset image on figure A shows a cross-section of the artery with the inserted balloon catheter and closed stent. In figure B, the balloon is inflated, expanding the stent and compressing the plaque to restore the size of the artery. Figure C shows the stent-widened artery. The inset image on figure C shows a cross-section of the compressed plaque and stent-widened artery.
The origin of the word ''stent'' remains unsettled. The verb ''stenting'' was used for centuries for the process of stiffening garments (a usage long obsolete, per the ''Oxford English Dictionary'') and some believe this to be the origin. Others attribute the noun ''stent'' to Jan F. Esser, a Dutch plastic surgeon who in 1916 used the word to describe a dental impression compound invented in 1856 by the English dentist Charles Stent (1807–1885), which Esser employed to craft a form for facial reconstruction. The full account is described in the ''Journal of the History of Dentistry''. According to the author, from the use of Stent's compound as support for facial tissues grew the eventual use of stent to open various bodily structures.
Worth noting though is that the first "stents" used in medical practice were initially called "Wallstents".
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