Eating Before Surgery Can Speed Up Recovery Period
More than 100 years of medical protocols states that patients are usually not allowed to eat at least 12 hours before a surgery. But there is a new approach to change that habit, eating before surgery can actually speed up the recovery period.
This new approach was pioneered in the late nineties by a Danish surgeon, Professor Henrik Kehlet.
According to him, the old medical protocol does not allow patients to eat 12 hours before surgery. Besides that, when patients undergoes abdominal surgery, they are not allowed to eat until a week after surgery and are only allowed to move in bed for weeks.
Therefor, it is not surprising that patients often experience dramatic weight loss, especially for those who are weak and elderly people. If left like this, post-surgery patients are even more vulnerable and susceptible to infections and a long time will be needed for recovery.
Contrary to the conventional tradition, Prof. Kehlet recommends patients to eat carbohydrate-rich foods such as potatoes and pasta 6 hours before surgery, as well as consuming high-energy drinks 2 hours before surgery.
In addition, after surgery patients should also eat as soon as possible. Patients also should get up and move around in the next day, not just rest in bed.
“Moving is also an important thing. Not moving and only laying in bed for a long time increases the risk of infections so that it can prolong the illness,” Prof. Kehlet said, according to Daily Mail.
Prof. Kehlet also questions all standard procedures and get rid of all the procedures if they do not support the healing and recovery of patients.
According to him, the main reason for not allowing patients to eat before surgery is the risk of breathing difficulties due to food from the stomach into the lungs. But this risk is very minimal.
Previously it was also expected that intestines are completely shut down until seven days after general anesthesia. Now it is known that most patients have adequate intestinal function to promote food and beverages through the intestine only several hours after surgery.
Prof. Kehlet’s approach has been followed in Britain since 2002, pioneered by a colorectal surgeon at Yeovil District Hospital and St Mark’s Hospital.
This new way, which is called Enhanced Recovery (ER) has been quietly revolutionizing the pre-and post-operative care for patients.
“ER is clearly a success story, but there were only 72 hospitals in England using this technique,” said Ian Jenkins, a surgeon at St. Mark’s Hospital, London.