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Longitudinal intestinal lengthening and tailoring (LILT) is increasingly favoured as a treatment for short-bowel syndrome. In a personal series, 20 children underwent LILT between 1962 and 1997. There was negligible morbidity (hemiloop anastomotic stenosis in 2) and no operative mortality. At a mean follow-up of 6.4 years overall survival was 45%, and certain features were clearly related to outcome. Survivors had > 40 cm of residual small bowel (commonly jejunum) and had little hepatic dysfunction despite parenteral nutrition of similar time and nature as non-survivors. Children who did not survive had < 40 cm of residual small bowel and developed early lethal hepatic dysfunction of unclear aetiology. Outcome did not seem to be influenced by the presence of the ileocaecal valve or the length of residual colon. Children born with short-bowel should be offered LILT at an early stage when still in good physical condition, so as to avoid liver-damaging intraluminal stasis and bacterial translocation and to enhance intestinal adaptation and hepatoprotective factors.