One hundred and twenty seven patients undergoing elective surgery for inflammatory bowel disease were divided into three groups according to their preoperative ideal body weight (less than 80%, 80-90%, and greater than 90%). The groups were well matched in respect of age, sex, corticosteroid therapy, pre-existing sepsis, peroperative antimicrobial chemotherapy, and resection site. None received peroperative nutritional support. The postoperative outcome was similar in each of the three nutritional groups including the incidence of postoperative sepsis, duration of hospital stay, and mortality. Serial peroperative changes in weight, fat, and muscle bulk were assessed by anthropometric measurements in 21 of these patients. The deficits in weight, fat, and muscle bulk were similar at 10 and 21 days postoperatively in the three groups. At 84 days those malnourished preoperatively had recovered their nutritional status faster than the well nourished patients. We conclude that in these patients undergoing elective resection for inflammatory bowel disease preoperative weight loss did not adversely affect the postoperative outcome.
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