Early postoperative feeding and abdominal gynaecological surgery

Wu, Lihua and Griffiths, Peter (2005) Early postoperative feeding and abdominal gynaecological surgery. British Journal of Nursing, 14(1), pp. 42-46. ISSN (print) 0966-0461


Since the 1990s, the traditional postoperative feeding protocol has been challenged for patients who have undergone major abdominal gynaecological surgery, and value of extended delays in commencing oral intake has been questioned. This review aims to determine whether early rather than delayed postoperative feeding following major abdominal gynaecological surgery has an impact upon recovery as measured by length of hospital stay. The Cochrane Library, Embase, CINAHL and Medline were searched for randomized controlled trials (RCTs) which compared early postoperative oral intake with delayed (traditional) postoperative oral intake for patients who had undergone major abdominal gynaecological surgery. Three RCTs were identified and available for consideration. Although study quality was variable, they suggest that early postoperative feeding appears to be safe and well tolerated after most abdominal gynaecological surgery and leads to a considerable reduction in hospital stay of approximately one day. However, patients' preference and costs remain unclear. Therefore, further well-designed studies are needed to identify the comprehensive effectiveness of early postoperative feeding protocol.

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