Short Bowel Syndrome (SBS)

What is short bowel syndrome?

Short bowel syndrome (SBS), or simply "short gut," is a condition caused by the loss of a functioning small intestine. The small intestine is an important part of the digestive tract - it's where we absorb most of the sugars, proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals from the food we eat. When a child doesn't have enough small intestine, the body can't absorb the nutrients it needs to grow and thrive.

SBS is a serious condition because if left untreated, it can lead to dehydration and malnutrition and can be life threatening. The extent of your child's problems with SBS usually depends on which sections and how much of the small intestine are affected.

Meet Konrad

How we care for short bowel syndrome

The Center for Advanced Intestinal Rehabilitation (CAIR) at Boston Children's Hospital is one of the world's premier programs for the treatment of SBS. Each year, our program cares for more than 200 children from all regions of the country and abroad. In 2002, our doctors performed the world's first serial transverse enteroplasty procedure (STEP), a surgical technique that lengthens and tapers the intestines of children with SBS. Since then, we have performed dozens of these procedures with success. Our interdisciplinary center is also renowned for innovations in the nutritional and medical management of children with SBS. CAIR was the first center to use a novel intravenous preparation (Omegaven) for the treatment of liver disease associated with intestinal failure.