Surgical approach to short-bowel syndrome. Experience in a population of 160 patients

Ann Surg. 1995 Oct;222(4):600-5; discussion 605-7. doi: 10.1097/00000658-199522240-00016.


Objective: The authors reviewed their experience with short-bowel syndrome to define the surgical approach to this problem in 160 patients.

Methods: Forty-eight adults and 112 children were evaluated over a 15-year period.

Results: Seventy-one patients (44%) adapted to resection and took enteral nutrition alone. Forty-four patients (28%) were supported by parenteral nutrition (PN). Forty-five patients (28%) have had 49 surgical procedures. Fifteen patients with adequate intestinal length (> 120 cm in adults) but dilated dysfunctional bowel underwent stricturoplasty (n = 4) or tapering (n = 11). Thirteen patients (87%) demonstrated clinical improvement. Fourteen patients with shorter remnants (90-120 cm) and rapid transit time received an artificial valve (n = 2) or a reversed segment (n = 1). All patients' conditions improved initially, but the reversed segment was revised or taken down. Fourteen patients with short remnants and dilated bowel underwent intestinal lengthening. Twelve patients' conditions improved (86%), one underwent transplantation, and one died. Sixteen patients with very short remnants (< 60 cm) and complications of PN underwent solitary intestine (n = 4) or combined liver-intestinal transplantation (n = 13). One-year graft survival was 65%. There have been five deaths.

Conclusions: The surgical approach to short-bowel syndrome depends on the patient's age, remnant length and caliber, intestinal function, and PN-related complications. Nontransplant procedures have a role in the treatment of selected patients. Intestinal transplantation is emerging as a potential therapy for patients with significant PN-related complications.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Enteral Nutrition
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Intestines / surgery
  • Intestines / transplantation
  • Methods
  • Middle Aged
  • Parenteral Nutrition
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Short Bowel Syndrome / etiology
  • Short Bowel Syndrome / surgery*