Treatment & Options

For decades, total parenteral nutrition (TPN) was the only therapeutic option for children with inadequate bowel function, or short bowel syndrome. But the severe and often life-threatening side effects of TPN, including line sepsis, liver failure and ultimately the need for transplant, make it a complicated and limited option.

Today, children no longer need total parenteral nutrition after a successful transplant. Longer-term transplant recipients eat normally and no longer require catheters, gastrostomy tubes or ileostomies.

In addition, our hospital’s Intestinal Rehabilitation Program encourages early referral and care planning with referring physicians to dramatically improve outcomes for children who might otherwise require TPN or transplant. Our highly skilled group of gastroenterologists and allied health care professionals work with surgeons to optimize intestinal function in children to avoid a liver or intestinal transplant.

The program includes creative nutrition and the use of novel surgical approaches such as the Serial Transverse Enteroplasty Procedure (STEP), which is used to lengthen and taper the bowel and may improve overall bowel function and nutrient absorption.