The clinical courses of 53 adult patients with the short bowel syndrome (SBS) were evaluated to determine the incidence of and indications for reoperation. Mesenteric vascular disease (23 patients) and malignancy/irradiation (18 patients) were the most frequent causes of resection. Early reoperation was necessary in nine (17%) patients, primarily for intestinal complications. Twenty (53%) of the 38 patients leaving the hospital required a later abdominal procedure during the mean follow-up of 30 months (range: 2 to 108 months). Three (33%) of nine patients with ulcer disease had gastric resection. Six (21%) of 28 patients at risk for cholelithiasis developed symptoms. Four of these patients underwent cholecystectomy, and three others had a prophylactic cholecystectomy. Ten patients underwent ostomy closure or formation. Intestinal disease necessitated stricturoplasty (three), serosal patch (one), minimal resection (three), or takedown of an ileal conduit (one). Twenty-four (63%) of 38 patients with SBS received home total parenteral nutrition for a mean of 22 months (range: 2 to 105 months). Eleven patients required more than 1 vascular access procedure, and 4 had more than 3 procedures. Patients with the SBS frequently require reoperation for intestinal conditions, cholelithiasis, peptic ulceration, and vascular access. Prophylactic cholecystectomy and strategies for preserving intestinal length are important considerations in these patients.
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