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Short bowel syndrome

  • Definition

    Short bowel syndrome is a condition in which nutrients are not properly absorbed (malabsorption) due to severe intestinal disease or the surgical removal of a large portion of the small intestine.


    Alternative Names

    Small intestine insufficiency


    Causes, incidence, and risk factors

    When areas of the small intestine are removed by surgery, or they are missing due to a birth defect (congenital defect), there may not be enough surface area left in the remaining bowel to absorb enough nutrients from food.

    This condition is likely to develop when one-half or more of the bowel is removed during surgery. Risk factors include diseases of the small intestine that may require surgery, such as Crohn's disease. Necrotizing enterocolitis is a common cause of short bowel syndrome in infants.