Colorectal Surgery Patients Prefer Simple Solid Foods to Clear Fluids as the First Postoperative Meal

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Abstract

PURPOSE:

Randomized controlled trials have established that there is no benefit to withholding oral food and fluids from colorectal surgery patients postoperatively. The aim of this survey was to determine food preferences for the first postoperative meal and compare these with a traditional clear-fluid diet.

METHODS:

One hundred forty-five elective colorectal surgery patients were surveyed about their preferences for 35 common foods within 72 hours of surgery and their levels of nausea, hunger, and pain. Preferences were examined by postoperative day (one vs. two) and levels of nausea, hunger, and pain.

RESULTS:

The survey showed that patients significantly preferred solid foods as early as the first postoperative day and their preferences had little congruency with the traditional clear-fluid diet. Foods highest in preference, such as eggs, regular broth soup (e.g., chicken noodle soup), toast, and potatoes, were significantly more preferred than common clear-fluid diet items such as gelatin, clear broth, and carbonated beverages (P < 0.01). Oral supplements were preferred by only 44%. Patients reported low levels of nausea, hunger, and pain.

CONCLUSION:

Postoperative colorectal surgery patients prefer to receive simple solid foods rather than a clear-fluid diet as their first postoperative meal.

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