The short bowel syndrome is a symptom complex that occurs in adults who have less than 200 cm of jejunum-ileum remaining after intestinal resection. Similar symptoms are observed in infants and children following massive bowel resection or congenital anomalies and in individuals with longer segments of intestine with severe mucosal disease. Initial care should focus on a thorough excision of nonviable bowel, an exact measurement of the remaining viable bowel, placing all intestine in continuity at the initial or subsequent operation, and controlling initial food intake. With time, adaptation of the remnant intestine occurs, and absorptive function may be maximized by enhancing the enteral diet and minimizing parenteral nutrition. Growth factors and specialized nutrients may also enhance this process. Intestinal transplantation should be considered in selected individuals with the short bowel syndrome who fail intestinal rehabilitation protocols.
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