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Intestinal rehabilitation

Pediatric specialists at Dell Children’s deliver multispecialty care for children with short bowel syndrome and intestinal failure.

newborn baby with intestinal failure getting care from pediatric gastroenterologist (GI doctor) at Dell Children’s Medical Center in Austin, Texas.

Intestinal rehabilitation at Dell Children’s

The intestinal rehabilitation program at Dell Children’s Medical Center, part of Ascension Seton, is a leader in Central Texas in treating children with short bowel syndrome (SBS) and intestinal failure. These conditions can be complex and require the care of many different pediatric specialists. We take a multidisciplinary approach to address challenges such as feeding difficulties, nutritional concerns, tube feeding and central line complications. Your child's care team includes a pediatric gastroenterologist (GI doctor), motility specialist, surgeon, dietitian, speech and language pathologist, nurse, behavioral psychologist, and social worker. Our team of specialists are involved in research and education. Providing the right care for your child starts with doctors and care teams who listen to understand your child and your concerns. Then, we create a personalized care plan that’s right for your child and family.

Our goal is to help your child have:

  • A shorter transition from IV nutrition to oral diet or tube feeding.
  • More time at home and less time in the hospital.
  • Fewer complications such as life-threatening infections and liver disease.
  • Improved nutrition and growth.

Advanced care for short bowel syndrome (SBS) and intestinal failure

Pediatric intestinal failure happens when the bowel is unable to absorb enough nutrients to support your child’s development and growth. This is usually caused by an underlying medical condition. Short bowel syndrome can occur when there is not enough healthy bowel, which can lead to intestinal failure. Many conditions can lead to SBS, such as necrotizing enterocolitis (or NEC, a disease that affects infants when intestinal tissue is inflamed and dies), ischemic bowel from volvulus (twisting of the bowel cuts off blood flow), bowel atresias (blockage of the intestine), or gastroschisis (when babies are born with a hole in their stomach next to their belly button).

Specialists at Dell Children’s Medical Center have the expertise to diagnose, treat and manage the care of children who have pediatric intestinal disorders. Your child’s multidisciplinary team works together to deliver comprehensive care and management of SBS. Care plans may include a combination of personalized diet recommendations, medications, tube feeding and more.

Dell Children’s also provides some of the most advanced therapies for SBS, including:

  • Lipid minimization therapy and lipid emulsions such as soybean oil, SMOF and Omegaven®
  • Therapies to promote gut growth, such as Teduglutide®
  • Surgery to lengthen the bowel, also known as the STEP procedure, and bowel tapering surgery
  • Ethanol locks, sodium bicarbonate locks and antibiotic locks that help prevent bloodstream infections caused by a catheter

Intestinal rehabilitation at Dell Children’s

Planned preventive care and monitoring

Your child’s care team takes a preventive and multidisciplinary approach to care. Before your child’s appointment, your child's care team discusses your child's progress, labs due, treatment goals, and resources your child and family needs. Your child has a dedicated team who meets regularly to evaluate your child’s progress and overall health, addressing their social needs, development through feeding therapy, and mental and emotional health. Your child’s care team regularly monitors their growth, micronutrients, and bone and kidney health. Using evidence-based methods, we can help prevent complications, such as line infections and liver disease.

Personalized approach to care

At Dell Children’s, we take a personalized approach to care. Your child’s care team creates a care plan that meets the needs of your child and family. We also take the time to fully explain your child’s diagnosis and care plan, and answer your questions – big and small.

Goal setting for condition management

Our goal is to help your child gain independence and be able to manage their condition with confidence. We work with you and your child to set realistic goals and provide an action plan that helps you and your child to identify and overcome challenges that may arise with their condition.

What to expect at your child’s first appointment

At your child’s first visit, we listen to your concerns and discuss your child’s health history. Our team approach to personalized care means that you and your child will meet with a variety of pediatric specialists, depending on your child’s needs. Your first visit will include your child’s doctor, nurse, and dietitian who will perform a thorough physical examination, clinical assessment, and nutrition assessment. Each member of your child’s care team gets to know your child and takes a detailed history. Your child’s doctor may also recommend tests and procedures such as blood draws, central line dressing changes, weight and height measurements, and X-ray studies.

We may also recommend additional diagnostic tests, such as:

  • Abdominal ultrasound or X-ray
  • Anorectal manometry
  • Colonoscopy
  • DEXA scan
  • Endoscopy
  • Esophageal manometry
  • Fundoplication
  • pH impedance study

Intestinal rehabilitation