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Nutrition. 2002 Feb;18(2):147-52.

Enforced mobilization, early oral feeding, and balanced analgesia improve convalescence after colorectal surgery.

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Department of Surgery, Aarhus University Hospital, Aarhus, Denmark.



A postoperative regimen using a multimodal approach with enforced mobilization and early oral nutrition has been reported to improve convalescence but has not been compared with other postoperative regimens.


Forty patients undergoing elective colorectal surgery were randomly allocated to an intervention group receiving comprehensive information on the importance of mobilization, balanced anesthesia, and postoperative analgesia including epidural local anesthetics and enforced postoperative mobilization or a control group receiving anesthesia without epidural local anesthetics, postoperative analgesia with epidural morphine, and mobilization without fixed goals. All patients were offered early oral nutrition. The regimens were compared by means of ambulation time and physical activity, voluntary muscle strength, pulmonary function, and body composition.


The ambulation time improved substantially within 22 h in the intervention group versus 3 h in the control group on day 1 (P = 0.0004) and within 8 h versus 2 h on day 4 (P = 0.0003). The voluntary strength of the quadriceps muscle decreased by 3% in the intervention group versus 15% in the control group on day 7 (P = 0.04). Two months postoperatively, the difference between groups was the same (P = 0.02).


This active per- and postoperative regimen based on a multimodal approach improved ambulation time and muscle function during admission and late convalescence.

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