The purpose of this retrospective study was to investigate the morbidity of immediate postoperative refeeding after orthopedic surgery. We included all the 1077 patients who underwent orthopedic surgery between January and December 2003 at our military teaching hospital. General anesthesia was performed in 37% of the patients (n = 398), 24% (n = 259) had combined general and regional anesthesia, and 39% (n = 420) had isolated regional anesthesia (spinal anesthesia and/or peripheral regional anesthesia). After surgery, each patient was allowed free access to solid and liquid food immediately after discharge from the postanesthetic care unit. Although no systematic nausea and vomiting prophylaxis was performed, only 7% (n = 75) of the patients had postoperative nausea and vomiting during the first 48 h. Moreover, neither deglutition trouble nor aspiration syndrome was observed during that period. Our results suggest that immediate postoperative refeeding after orthopedic surgery is safe, does not increase postoperative nausea and vomiting, and probably increases the comfort of patients.
Early oral intake Postoperative nausea and vomiting Regional anesthesia