Obstructive jaundice caused by malignant distal biliary obstruction is a common clinical symptom in patients with inoperable biliary–pancreatic cancer. Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP)-guided stent implantation is an effective treatment for obstructive jaundice. Internal stent drainage is more physiologic and associated with a better quality of life than external stent drainage methods such as percutaneous transhepatic gallbladder drainage or percutaneous transhepatic cholangiodrainage. Self-expanding metallic stents, which may be covered and uncovered, are commonly used. However, some uncertainties remain regarding the selection of metallic stents, including drainage patency time, clinical effect, stent migration, and post-operative complications such as pancreatitis, bleeding, and cholecystitis. This review aims to summarize the current progress and controversies surrounding the use of covered or uncovered metallic stents in inoperable common biliary obstruction via ERCP.

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