Objective: Review the clinical results of 24 years of intestinal lengthening procedures at one institution.
Methods: Retrospective review of a single center experience comparing the outcome of 2 intestinal lengthening procedures (Bianchi and serial transverse enteroplasty [STEP]) in terms of survival, total parenteral nutrition (TPN) weaning, and complications.
Results: Sixty-four patients, including 14 adults, underwent 43 Bianchi and 34 STEP procedures between 1982 and 2007. Three patients had prior isolated liver transplants. The median (range) remnant bowel length before first lengthening was 45 (11-150) cm overall; (Bianchi = 44 cm, STEP = 45 cm) and 68 (20-250) cm after lengthening; (Bianchi = 68 cm, STEP = 65 cm). Actual survival is 91% overall (Bianchi 88%, STEP 95%) with median follow-up of 3.8 years (Bianchi = 5.9 years, STEP = 1.7 years). Average enteral caloric intake in pediatric patients was 15 kcal/kg before lengthening and 85 kcal/kg at 1 year after lengthening. Sixty-nine percent of patients are off TPN at most recent follow-up, including 8 who were weaned from TPN after intestinal transplantation. Liver disease (when present) was reversed in 80%. Surgical complications occurred in 10%, more commonly requiring reoperation after Bianchi than STEP. Intestinal transplantation salvage was required in 14% at a median of 2.9 years (range = 8 months to 20.7 years) after lengthening.
Conclusions: Surgical lengthening with both Bianchi and STEP procedures results in improvement in enteral nutrition, reverses complications of TPN and avoids intestinal transplantation in the majority with few surgical complications. Intestinal transplantation can salvage most patients who later develop life-threatening complications or fail to wean TPN.