Eating when you have a duodenal stent

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What is a duodenal stent?
A stent is a small metal mesh tube which is placed in the narrowed or blocked area of your duodenum. The duodenum is the first part of your small bowel, attached to your stomach. The stent is placed across the narrowing or blockage and will expand to allow fluid and food to pass through from your stomach more easily. This will help to reduce symptoms such as vomiting and regurgitation.

When and what can I eat following a duodenal stent insertion?
Your doctor will tell you when you are allowed to start eating again. This is usually by the next day. To start with, you will be advised to have fluids only e.g. water, squash, tea, coffee, Bovril, milk, fruit juice (with no bits). A more liquid/puree diet is usually encouraged for the next few days e.g. clear or smooth soup, jelly, ice cream, milkshakes, pureed foods (no lumps). The doctor who performed the stent placement will give instructions on the type of diet recommended for you to progress onto. This can vary depending on the particular position of the stent or how long it is.

  • If you are advised to continue on liquid or soft puree diet longer term, then your dietitian can give you further advice on this.
  • Otherwise, you can gradually build up to a soft diet over the following weeks.

General Guidelines for when you are allowed to eat a soft diet again:

  • Choose soft, moist, lower fibre foods.
  • Have smaller, more frequent meals and snacks.
  • Add extra sauces/gravies to your meals.
  • Take time when eating, take small mouthfuls and chew your food thoroughly.
  • Use nutritious drinks such as milk, milkshakes and smooth soups to optimise your intake.

Foods to avoid, or keep to a minimum:

  • Skins and stalks on vegetables: peel vegetables and cook well, have the ‘tips’ of vegetables such as broccoli or cauliflower and avoid the more fibrous stalks.
  • Raw or stringy vegetables e.g. raw salads, coleslaw, tomatoes, celery, green beans, sweetcorn, mushrooms.
  • Skins, pips and seeds on fruit: peel fruit and/or use tinned, avoid fruits with seeds e.g. strawberries, blackberries.
  • Pithy fruit e.g. oranges, nectarines, grapefruit, pineapple.
  • Dried fruit, nuts, and seeds, popcorn.
  • Fish with bones e.g. anchovies, tinned sardines.
  • Tough or gristly meat.
  • High fibre cereals e.g. Shredded Wheat, Bran flakes, Muesli, cereals with dried fruit/nuts.
  • Crusty bread, granary bread, seeded bread.

Remember to always chew your food thoroughly.

If you think that your stent is blocked, which could result in nausea, vomiting or abdominal pain, please contact your specialist nurse, or if symptoms persist/worsen, the A&E outpatients department.

Example soft diet menu:

Breakfast options:

  • Porridge e.g. Ready Brek, Cornflakes, Rice Crispies with plenty of milk.
  • Soft white bread with spread and clear marmalade (no bits), or scrambled egg.
  • Yogurt with fruit puree (no seeds) or banana.

Main meal options:

  • Smooth soups (without any beans, pulses or fibrous vegetables).
  • Sandwich on white bread with egg mayonnaise, or thinly sliced lean meat with butter/spread/mayo.
  • Casserole or minced lean meat avoiding bones, skin and gristle, e.g. shepherd’s pie.
  • Poached or tinned ‘flaky’ fish (avoiding batter and fish bones), e.g. fish pie.
  • Cheese omelette, or scrambled egg.
  • Pasta with extra sauce e.g. spaghetti bolognaise, lasagne, macaroni cheese.
  • Jacket potato (without the skin) with tinned tuna and mayonnaise, or grated cheese.
  • Mashed potato and gravy.
  • Pureed root vegetables e.g. swede, carrot.
  • Well cooked vegetables with skins removed.

Dessert or snack options:

  • Yogurts or milk puddings such as custard, rice pudding.
  • Jelly, ice cream, mousse.
  • Tinned or stewed fruit, apple crumble.
  • For more information on a liquid, puree or soft diet, please alert your dietitian.

Dietitian contact number: 01908 996 004.