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Bowel re-dilation following serial transverse enteroplasty (STEP)

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The serial transverse enteroplasty (STEP) operation tapers and lengthens dilated small bowel. Some patients demonstrate bowel re-dilation following STEP. Factors associated with bowel re-dilation and its effect upon clinical outcome were evaluated.


Twenty STEP operations were reviewed. Sixteen cases were operated for failure to advance enteral feeding and were further analyzed. Available pre- and post-STEP radiographs were independently assessed for bowel re-dilation by two experienced pediatric radiologists. Potential factors of re-dilation were evaluated. Full enteral autonomy was defined as no longer requiring parenteral nutrition (PN) and remaining off PN for at least 12 months after STEP.


There was complete concordance between the radiologists. 9 of 16 patients demonstrated radiographic bowel re-dilation following STEP. Age, follow-up duration, time interval between STEP and last imaging reviewed, gender, diagnoses, pre- and post-STEP bowel length and width were not significantly associated with re-dilation. However, median post-STEP duration of PN was significantly longer in the re-dilated group than in the non-dilated group (41 vs. 3 months, p = 0.006). In addition, only 1 of 9 re-dilated patients achieved enteral autonomy as compared with 6 of 7 non-dilated patients (p = 0.009).


Longer PN duration after STEP increases probability of bowel re-dilation. Patients who re-dilated following STEP are significantly less likely to achieve enteral autonomy. Larger prospective data collections are warranted to further explore these relationships.

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Correspondence to Kuang Horng-Jamie Kang.

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Kang, K.HJ., Gutierrez, I.M., Zurakowski, D. et al. Bowel re-dilation following serial transverse enteroplasty (STEP). Pediatr Surg Int 28, 1189–1193 (2012).

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