Intestinal Failure

A child with intestinal failure

Nemours’ board-certified general surgeons and pediatric gastroenterologists provide expert, multidisciplinary care for intestinal failure in children from all over the world — newborns to teenagers — caused by short bowel syndrome and motility and absorption disorders (such as necrotizing enterocolitis, intestinal atresia, Hirschsprung disease and microvillus inclusion disease).

Our collaborative teams offer comprehensive evaluation and whole-child, life-giving care including advanced non-surgical treatments (nutritional management and intestinal rehabilitation) and leading-edge minimally invasive surgical procedures.

Read More About Intestinal Failure in Children

The pediatric specialists and surgeons at Nemours — who are consistently recognized as some of the Best Doctors® in America — work closely with highly experienced registered dietitians, registered nurses, physician assistants, therapists and social workers to help families and kids with intestinal failure gain lifelong health and independence.

Together our teams are made up of leaders who continue to shape national and international best practices and standards for treating intestinal failure in children. In fact, Nemours pediatric general surgeons are among few in the country who perform the innovative serial transverse enteroplasty (STEP) technique for short bowel syndrome. And one of our own care team members literally helped write the book on parenteral and enteral nutrition (intravenous and tube feeding) and nutritional management for children with chronic and complex medical conditions.

Advanced Intestinal Failure Care Across the Miles

Intestinal failure in children is a very serious, rare and complex condition that results when the small intestine does not absorb enough of the fluids, vitamins and minerals the body needs to grow and develop. It’s caused by a number of intestinal problems. Early, expert evaluation and treatment is critical.

Through our award-winning electronic health record system, specialists (pediatric radiologists, pathologists, gastroenterologists and surgeons) across the entire Nemours Children’s Health System in the Delaware Valley and Florida can quickly connect to make a diagnosis and begin treatment as soon as possible. This means your child has access to a large team of top intestinal failure experts in the country without leaving the area.

Pediatric Intestinal Failure Conditions We Treat

Intestinal failure results from short bowel syndrome (a shortened small intestine), neuromuscular disorders that affect motility (movement of food through the intestine), diseases of the intestinal tract that affect bowel function and congenital (present at birth) diseases of intestinal lining.

We treat nearly every condition that causes intestinal failure in children, including:
  • chronic intestinal pseudo-obstruction (when contractions in the intestinal tract do not work properly)
  • gastroschisis (a hole in the muscles and skin in the abdomen)
  • Hirschsprung disease (blockage caused by improper muscle relaxation in the bowel)
  • inflammatory bowel disease (such as Crohn disease and ulcerative colitis)
  • intestinal aganglionosis (lack of ganglion nerve cells that impacts sensation)
  • intestinal atresia (when part of the intestine doesn’t develop properly)
  • microvillus inclusion disease (incomplete development and/or degeneration of cellular membranes in the wall of the intestine)
  • necrotizing enterocolitis (when part of the intestine dies due to bacterial infection or inflammation)
  • thrombotic disorders (when clots impact blood flow in the intestine)
  • tufting enteropathy (hereditary disease that affects the tiny villi, or hair-like projections, in the intestines)
  • volvulus (when the intestine is twisted and causes blockage)

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Family-Centered Care at Its Best

At the center of our care are our patients and families. We understand that no one knows your child better than you, so we always take time listen to your concerns and provide personal service and comprehensive care for your child — and family — through emotional support, education and open communication.

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