The researchers evaluated the effect of gum chewing in patients who have undergone laparoscopic colectomy for ileus.
They reported their results in the July issue of the Journal of the American College of Surgeons.
A total of 19 patients, who underwent elective laparoscopic colectomy for colorectal cancer, participated in the study.
Each patient was randomly assigned to one of two groups: a gum-chewing group (n = 10, mean age 59 years) or a control group (n = 9, mean age 61 years).
The patients in the gum-chewing group chewed gum 3 times a day from the first postoperative morning until oral intake.
|Benefits of chewing gum:|
- Stimulates bowel motility
- Reduces hospital stay
| Journal of the American College of Surgeons |
The times of the first passage of flatus and defecation were recorded precisely.
The first passage of flatus was seen, on average, on postoperative day 2.1 in the gum-chewing group and on day 3.2 in the control group.
In addition, the first defecation was 2.7 days sooner in the gum-chewing group (postoperative day 3.1) than in the control group (5.8 days).
The authors found that all patients tolerated gum chewing on the first operative morning.
The postoperative hospital stays for the gum chewing and control groups were, on average, 13.5 days and 14.5 days, respectively.
Takayuki Asao, of the Gunma University School of Medicine, Maebashi, said on behalf of fellow authors, "Gum chewing aids early recovery from postoperative ileus and is an inexpensive and physiologic method for stimulating bowel motility."
"Gum chewing should be added as an adjunct treatment in postoperative care because it might contribute to shorter hospital stays," it was concluded.