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Postoperative colonic motility and tone in patients after colorectal surgery

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PURPOSE: Colonic motility is crucial for the resolution of postoperative ileus. However, few data are available on postoperative colonic motility and no data on postoperative colonic tone. We aimed to characterize postoperative colonic tone and motility in patients. METHODS: Nineteen patients were investigated with combined barostat and manometry recordings after left colonic surgery. During surgery a combined recording catheter was placed in the colon with two barostat bags and four manometry channels cephalad to the anastomosis. Recordings were performed twice daily from Day 1 to Day 3 after surgery. RESULTS: Manometry showed an increasing colonic motility index, which was a mean (± standard error of the mean) of 37±5 mmHg/minute on Day 1, 87±19 mmHg/minute on Day 2, and 102±13 mmHg/minute on Day 3 (P<0.05 for Day 1vs. Day 2 and Day 2vs. Day 3). Low barostat bag volumes indicating a high colonic tone were observed on Day 1 after surgery and increased subsequently (barostat bag I was 19±4, 32±6, and 32±6 ml; barostat bag II was 13±1, 19±3, and 22±5 ml on Days 1, 2, and 3, respectively; for both barostat bagsP<0.05 for Day 1vs. Day 2 but not Day 2vs. Day 3). CONCLUSIONS: Colonic motility increased during the postoperative course. The low barostat bag volumes indicated a high colonic tone postoperatively which would correspond to a contracted rather than to a distended colon. High colonic tone postoperatively may be relevant for pharmacologic treatment of postoperative ileus.

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Author information

Correspondence to Dr. Martin E. Kreis M.D..

Additional information

Supported by grants to Dr. Kreis from the University of Tübingen (fortüne 23) and the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (Kr 1816/1-1). Dr. Huge is supported by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (Zi 415/4-1).

Published in part in abstract form inGastroenterology 1998;114:G3167.

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Huge, A., Kreis, M.E., Zittel, T.T. et al. Postoperative colonic motility and tone in patients after colorectal surgery. Dis Colon Rectum 43, 932–939 (2000).

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Key words

  • Barostat
  • Colon
  • Human
  • Ileus
  • Manometry
  • Motility
  • Postoperative
  • Rectum
  • Surgery