Short bowel syndrome (SBS) is due to a massive loss of small bowel: the reduction of gut function is below the minimum necessary to maintain health (in adults) and growth (in children) so intravenous supplementation is required. Parenteral nutrition represents the milestone of treatment and surgical attempts should be limited only when the residual bowel is sufficient to increase absorption, reducing diarrhea and slowing the transit time of nutrients, water and electrolytes. The surgical techniques lengthen the bowel (tapering it) or reverse a segment of it: developed in children, nowadays are popular also among adults. The issue is mainly represented by the residual length of the small bowel where ileum has shown increased adaptive function than jejunum, but colon should be considered because of its importance in the digestive process. These concepts have been translated also in intestinal transplantation, where a colonic graft is nowadays widely used and the terminal ileum is the selected segment for a living-related donation. The whole replacement by a bowel or multivisceral transplant is still affected by poor long term outcome and must be reserved to a select population of SBS patients, affected by intestinal failure associated with irreversible complications of parenteral nutrition.
Marino, Ignazio R. and Lauro, Augusto, "Surgeon's perspective on short bowel syndrome: Where are we?" (2018). Department of Surgery Faculty Papers. Paper 177.
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