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To analyze risk factors and prognostic significance of small bowel (SB) dilatation in children with short bowel syndrome (SBS).In SBS, the remaining SB may dilate as part of intestinal adaptation. The impact of dilatation on parenteral nutrition (PN) dependence and survival has not been studied systematically.SB diameter of SBS children (n = 61) was measured in contrast SB series (n = 169, median age 0.94, range 0.32–2.7 years) during 2002 to 2015, and expressed as millimeters (SB width) and as ratio to L5 vertebra height (SB diameter ratio). Linear regression was used to examine risk factors for dilatation. PN weaning and survival were analyzed with Cox proportional hazards regression.Maximal SB diameter ratio during follow-up was predicted by PN dependence and SB atresia, while maximal absolute SB width by birth weight, age, PN duration, and remaining bowel length. Weaning off PN was 14-fold more likely in patients with maximal SB diameter ratio <2.00 compared with >3.00 (P = 0.005), and 5.4-fold more likely when maximal SB width was <20 mm compared with >30 mm (P = 0.023). After adjustment for age, remaining SB length, and the presence of ileocecal valve, both estimates of maximal SB dilatation remained significant independent predictors for weaning off PN. When all measurements were included, the cumulative survival was worse if SB diameter ratio exceeded 2.00 (P = 0.002–0.042).SB dilatation predicts prolonged PN duration and decreased survival in SBS children. Measurement of maximal SB diameter standardized to L5 vertebra height may be a valuable objective tool for patient follow-up and assessment of prognosis.