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Obstet Gynecol. 2000 Oct;96(4):604-8.

Early feeding and the incidence of gastrointestinal symptoms after major gynecologic surgery.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of New Mexico Hospital, Albuquerque, New Mexico 87131, USA.



To compare early feeding with traditional postoperative dietary management for development of postoperative gastrointestinal symptoms, including ileus after major gynecologic surgery for benign conditions.


Women who had major gynecologic surgery for benign conditions were randomly allocated to early feeding of low residue diets 6 hours postoperatively or traditional dietary management of clear liquids with normal bowel sounds, and regular diet with passage of flatus. Demographic and perioperative data were collected, and patients answered questionnaires on their perception of bowel function and pain using the McGill Pain Scale. Power analysis found that 130 women were needed to find a twofold greater incidence of ileus in the early feeding group with 80% power and alpha =.05.


Complete data were available for 139 women, 67 allocated to the early feeding group and 72 to the late feeding group. The incidence of postoperative ileus for the study population was 4.4% and did not differ between groups (early 3% versus late 5. 8%, P =.68). There were no differences in patient demographics, surgical procedures, anesthesia used, and intraoperative complications between groups. With the exception of more complaints of nausea in the late feeding group (23% versus 13%, P =.04), there were no differences in other postoperative variables, including other perioperative complications, pain medicine requirements, fluid and caloric intake, median pain scores, and gastrointestinal function. The low incidence of perioperative complications made the power to detect differences between groups low.


Low residue diet 6 hours after major gynecologic surgery for benign indications was not associated with increased postoperative gastrointestinal complaints, including ileus.

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