Motor activity of the colon in the immediate postoperative period has been studied in human subjects using radiotelemetering capsules, radioopaque markers and serial abdominal radiographs. Following operations outside the abdomen there is a delay of about 16 hours before colonic activity returns. After abdominal operations the delay is from 40 to 48 hours. The length of an operation has no significant effect upon the duration of colonic ileus. The amount of postoperative analgesia has no significant effect upon the duration of colonic ileus. Gaseous distension after laparotomy is confined to the colon.
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