Published online Apr 15, 2010. doi: 10.4251/wjgo.v2.i4.187
Revised: August 26, 2009
Accepted: September 2, 2009
Published online: April 15, 2010
Malnutrition is present in the majority of patients presenting for surgical management of gastrointestinal malignancies, due to the effects of the tumour and preoperative anti-neoplastic treatments. The traditional practice of fasting patients until the resumption of bowel function threatens to further contribute to the malnutrition experienced by these patients. Furthermore, the rationale behind this traditional practice has been rendered obsolete through developments in anaesthetic agents and changes to postoperative analgesia practices. Conversely, there is a growing body of literature that consistently demonstrates that providing oral or tube feeding proximal to the anastomosis within 24 h postoperatively, is not only safe, but might be associated with significant benefits to the postoperative course. Early post operative feeding should therefore be adopted as a standard of care in oncology patients undergoing gastrointestinal resections.