Researchers have found there is no difference in post-surgical infection rates when a patient performs a pre-surgical bowel preparation compared to those who don't. File Photo by Kzenon/Shutterstock
Aug. 9 (UPI) -- For patients getting ready for colon surgery, the painful and burdensome preparation of emptying bowels and taking antibiotics may be a thing of the past, a new study says.
Researchers have found there is no difference in post-surgical infection rates when a patient performs pre-surgical bowel preparation compared to when they don't, according to research published Thursday in The Lancet.
"Bowel preparation is a stressful procedure for the patient, so conducting it is only justified when it genuinely benefits the patient," Laura Koskenvuo, a gastrointestinal surgeon at the Helsinki University Hospital and a study author, said in a press release. "However, not a single randomized follow-up study had been conducted on the topic, so we decided to carry one out ourselves."
A colectomy is the removal of some or all of the colon due to cancer or some other condition.
In the past, American surgical organizations recommended bowel preparation before colectomies based on multiple retrospective studies that showed it would reduce surgical infections. Medical professionals in Finland, however, were hesitant to adopt the practice.
The study included 400 patients scheduled to get colectomies, half of whom drank a liquid to cleanse their bowels and took antibiotics to avoid infections, and the other half who did not undergo the preparation.
"According to our findings, 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," said Ville Sallinen, a researcher at the Helsinki University Hospital.