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Taking a STEP back: Assessing the outcomes of multiple STEP procedures


Short bowel syndrome (SBS) is a highly morbid condition primarily because of parenteral nutrition (PN)–associated complications. Bowel lengthening via serial transverse enteroplasty (STEP) has become standard of care. While initial STEPs have resulted in weaning from PN, outcomes of repeated STEPs (ReSTEPs) are not well described. We investigated outcomes of initial STEP compared to ReSTEP procedures.


This retrospective review of STEPs included 17 children and a total of 24 procedures. Demographics, complications, hospital readmission rates, postoperative costs, and PN weaning were analyzed.


Neither patient-specific data nor the etiology of SBS was predictive of requiring a ReSTEP. PN weaning was more likely in the year following a first STEP (18% wean rate vs. 0% for ReSTEP, p > .05). No ReSTEP patients reached enteral autonomy. Enteral nutrition (%EN) increases were greater after first STEP compared to ReSTEP (26.0% vs. 4.7%, p = 0.03). This trend was true for bowel length as well, where first STEPs resulted in a 51% increase in bowel length compared to a 20% increase after in ReSTEP (p = 0.02).


ReSTEPs failed to result in significant PN weaning, with no ReSTEP patients achieving enteral autonomy during follow-up. Given its higher costs, smaller bowel length gains, and limited ability to produce enteral autonomy, surgeons should carefully consider performing ReSTEP procedures.

Level of evidence

Level III.

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