Experience with intestinal lengthening for the short-bowel syndrome

J. S. Thompson, L. W. Pinch, N. Murray, J. A. Vanderhoof, L. R. Schultz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


Patients with the short-bowel syndrome frequently develop dilated intestinal segments that may lead to impaired motility and malabsorption. Although intestinal tapering alone improves motility, the intestine can be lengthened as well. We reviewed our experience with six children undergoing intestinal lengthening to improve intestinal absorption secondary to the short-bowel syndrome. The procedure was performed by dissecting the vessels along the mesenteric border and dividing the intestine longitudinally with a stapler. Five patients were receiving total parenteral nutrition (TPN) and one was becoming malnourished with enteral feedings alone. Bacterial overgrowth was documented in four patients and abnormal liver function in three patients. The intestinal segments were dilated up to 10 cm in diameter and remnant length ranged from 15 to 79 cm. Segments 5 to 25 cm in length were divided, resulting in an average increase in length of 52%. Necrosis of one of the divided limbs necessitated resection in one patient. Follow-up ranged from 2 to 84 months. TPN has been discontinued in four patients and avoided in another. Symptomatic improvement occurred in all patients. We feel the tapering and lengthening procedure should be considered in patients with symptomatic, dilated intestinal segments in whom the need for TPN may potentially be obviated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)721-724
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of pediatric surgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1991


  • Short-bowel syndrome
  • intestinal lengthening
  • intestinal tapering

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health

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