Intestinal lengthening for short bowel syndrome.
Our recommendation at this time is that surgical bowel lengthening be considered in any chronically PN-dependent patient when there is substantial bowel dilation, regardless of remnant bowel length. Timing is determined when maximal adaptation has been achieved or when the rate of progression in enteral calories is slow and hampered by bacterial overgrowth. Currently, it seems premature to recommend primary STEP in all patients in whom surgical lengthening is considered, but it is certainly technically easier than the Bianchi procedure. These procedures are clearly indicated in patients experiencing life-threatening complications of PN, but careful selection of patients without evidence of hepatic decompensation is important. Patients with advanced liver disease are poor candidates for lengthening and should be referred for intestinal transplantation instead.