Center for Advanced Intestinal Rehabilitation
The extent of problems associated with short bowel syndrome usually depends on which sections of the small bowel are affected. The normal small bowel varies in length between 10 and 28 feet and is divided into three sections.
- Duodenum: A relatively short part of the small bowel, measuring about 10-12 inches. It immediately follows the stomach.
- Jejunum: The jejunum makes up about 2/5 of the small intestine, but is the largest section because its many folds give it an increased surface area for absorption.
- Ileum: Comprises the remaining 3/5 of the small bowel.
Usually, about one half of the small bowel can be removed without causing significant problems, especially if the ileum is not involved. The entire jejunum can usually be removed without problems resulting.
Removal of the ileum accounts for most of the problems seen in short bowel syndrome because it is responsible for the absorption of fats, vitamins, bile salts, and B12.