Nutritional management before and after gastrointestinal surgery

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Published: 21 Oct 2010
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Professor Christophe Mariette - University Hospital, Lille, France
Professor Christophe Mariette talks about the importance of nutritional management to successful gastrointestinal surgery. Professor Mariette explains how pre- and post- operative supplements reduce the chance of the patient infection rates and discusses which supplements are most beneficial to patients.


15th Congress of the European Society of Surgical Oncology (ESSO), 15–17 September 2010, Bordeaux

Professor Christophe Mariette – University Hospital, Lille, France

Nutritional management before and after gastrointestinal surgery


The session today was about the importance of a nutritional approach and nutritional management in GI and ear, throat and nose cancer patients in order to have a better outcome from a medical and nutritional status point of view.

What were the main conclusions from this meeting?

The main conclusion is that nutrition status just before surgery is important to check; that nutritional support is quite important to implement in daily practice in order to enhance the post-operative course, especially for a GI cancer patient and especially regarding the infectious complication rate that is lower in patients that will benefit from pre- and post-operative nutritional supplements when compared to a malnourished patient without any nutritional support.

Is it important for patients to be aware of these nutritional factors?

I think that we need to have some degree of communication with patients since nutrition is a translational approach that will implement a medical approach for many days, many weeks or many months. We need to have the patient’s comprehension for a better approach and better results.

What were the main points of the talk you gave?

My talk was about the impact of immuno-nutrition in the perioperative setting since we know that nutritional support will improve the post-operative course but since 2000 we have some products that implement stronger nutrition with some micronutrients and this combination with vitamins, beta carotene, omega-3 fatty acids, glutamine and RNA will give better results and stronger entire nutrition. And through many randomised controlled trials and through fixed meta-analysis we definitely have a benefit in using pre-operative and perioperative immuno-nutrition both in malnourished and well-nourished patients in order to especially decrease the post-operative infectious complication rate in patients who are malnourished but also well-nourished in the pre-operative setting.

Do EU guidelines need to be updated in response to these findings?

The level of our guidelines is very high at the moment with the grade A level of recommendation and that is enough to promote such an approach with immuno-nutrition systematically in each hospital for each patient that will treat upper GI and GI cancer patients.