In a new study, researchers found that cleansing the bowel before colon surgery maybe not necessary.
The research was conducted by a team from the Helsinki University Hospital.
In recent decades, patients in Europe coming in for colectomies, or surgical procedures targeted at the colon, have not been routinely subjected to what is known as bowel preparation, where the bowel is emptied before the operation.
In the United States, on the other hand, cleansing the bowel is relatively common.
Several studies conducted in the United States had indicated that bowel preparation combined with oral antibiotics may strongly reduce surgical site infections.
Based on these results, American surgical associations ended up recommending bowel preparation before colectomies.
But bowel preparation is a stressful procedure for the patient, so conducting it is only justified when it genuinely benefits the patient.
In the study, the team examined a total of 400 patients awaiting colectomy took part in the study.
Half of the patients were assigned into a preparation group which was given orally administered antibiotics combined with bowel cleansing with a drinkable cleansing liquid.
The other half into a group in which no such preparations were made.
The team found there were no differences in treatment outcomes between the groups.
Bowel preparation did not reduce surgical site infections or the total number or severity of surgical complications.
Neither was there any difference in the number of days spent at the hospital.
The findings show that the stressful bowel preparation procedure provides no benefit to patients.
The lead author of the study is Dr. Laura Koskenvuo, gastrointestinal surgeon and Ph.D. at the Helsinki University Hospital.
The study is published in The Lancet.
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