Introduction. Routine use of nasogastric tubes (NGT) after abdominal operations is intended to hasten the return of bowel function, diminish the risk of anastomotic leakage and prevent pulmonary complications. The aim of our study was to prospectively assess the tolerability and the safety of the non use of NGT after elective colorectal open operations.
Patients and methods. Between March 2009 and December 2010, 110 consecutive patients underwent colo-rectal elective open surgery for neoplasm without nasogastric decompression. We analyzed the incidence of nausea and vomiting, the pulmonary complications, the return of bowel function the deep wound breakdown (fascial dehiscence) and the anastomotic leakage.
Results. Only 15 patients (13,6%) reported nausea without vomiting immediately after surgery and 9 cases of vomiting were observed (8%), requiring the insertion of the NGT (nasogastric tube) in 5 (4,5%). A total of 105 patients (96,3%) were NGT free.
No deep wound dehiscence was observed and only one real pneumonia occurred. Anastomotic dehiscence occured in 4 patients (3,6%) and a second surgical procedure was needed in three cases. The return of bowel function, except in the last four patients, occurred in 3,8 days average (range 2-7 days).
Conclusion. We confirm the uselessness of the NGT in the framework of fast track program adopted in elective open colo-rectal surgery.
KEY WORDS: Nasogastric decompression - Colo-rectal surgery - Postoperative nausea and vomiting - Perioperative management.