A simplified rehabilitation program for patients undergoing elective colonic surgery—randomized controlled clinical trial

  • Leonardo Maciel da Fonseca
  • Magda Maria Profeta da Luz
  • Antônio Lacerda-Filho
  • Maria Isabel Toulson Davisson Correia
  • Rodrigo Gomes da Silva
Original Article



We have proposed a simplified perioperative rehabilitation program for elective colonic surgery that is focused on early oral nutrition and that could reduce hospital stay and postoperative ileus time without raising complications and readmission rates.

Patients and methods

Fifty-four patients admitted for elective colonic surgery were prospectively randomized into two groups: (1) an early feeding group (EFG)—on the first postoperative day, patients initially received a oral liquid diet and were advanced to a regular diet within the next 24 h as tolerated and at their discretion; (2) a traditional care group—patients were managed by nothing per orus until the elimination of the first flatus and then submitted to an oral liquid diet, followed by a regular diet within the next 24 h as described for the EFG. All patients followed a well-defined, simplified rehabilitation program.


Patients' baseline characteristics were similar in the two groups. Hospital stay was significantly lower in the EFG (4.0 [±3.7] versus 7.6 [±8.1] days; p = 0.000). Diet tolerance and progression were similar between groups. Time to first flatus after surgery was significantly lower in the EFG (1.5 [±0.5] versus 2.0 [±0.7] days; p = 0.019). Complication and readmission rates were similar in both groups.


Early oral nutrition associated with a simplified perioperative rehabilitation program reduces postoperative length of hospital stay and ileus time after elective colonic resection without increasing rates of complications or readmissions.


Postoperative care Early feeding Randomized controlled trial Colorectal surgery Fast track 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Leonardo Maciel da Fonseca
    • 1
  • Magda Maria Profeta da Luz
    • 1
  • Antônio Lacerda-Filho
    • 1
  • Maria Isabel Toulson Davisson Correia
    • 1
  • Rodrigo Gomes da Silva
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Colorectal Surgery, Instituto Alfa de Gastroenterologia/Hospital das Clínicas, School of MedicineUniversidade Federal de Minas GeraisBelo HorizonteBrazil

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