Short bowel syndrome is a condition in which a large section of the small intestine doesn’t work normally. It happens when a baby is born with an abnormally short intestine or when a large section of the intestine has been removed surgically. 

Short bowel syndrome interferes with the body’s ability to absorb nutrients from food. Many children with this condition cannot receive food or fluids by mouth. They are on “total parenteral nutrition,” meaning they receive nutrition through a vein.

Pediatric gastroenterologists at Phoenix Children’s provide comprehensive care for about 400 children with short bowel syndrome. These children have complex medical needs and often need support from other specialists, such as pediatric surgeons, registered dietitians, social workers, psychologists and home health providers. The gastroenterology team works with families to coordinate medical appointments and referrals so that their child receives the most efficient, comprehensive care possible.

Phoenix Children’s offers a multidisciplinary clinic for children with short bowel syndrome. Patients typically come to this clinic once a year for a thorough evaluation by a pediatric gastroenterologist and registered dietitian. This is an opportunity to address any new concerns and discuss innovative treatment options that may help.

Conditions We Treat

Our expert team treats all conditions associated with short bowel syndrome, including:

  • Malabsorption issues: These affect the body’s ability to absorb nutrition from food.
  • Gastroschisis and omphalocele: Rare birth defects in which the infant’s intestines, liver or other organs stick outside of the body through the belly button. 
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Hirschsprung’s disease
  • Ileus: A condition that interrupts the normal movement of food through the intestines.