Abdominal operations without nasogastric tube decompression of the gastrointestinal tract

M. Michowitz, J. Chen, E. Waizbard, J. B. Bawnik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The routine use of nasogastric (NG) drainage during and after abdominal surgery was examined. One hundred and fifty patients who underwent various abdominal operations with a Levine tube served as a control group (retrospective group). The tubeless study group (prospective group) of 150 patients was randomly and blindly divided into three equal subgroups. Subgroup A patients were operated on without any NG tube. The tube in subgroup B patients was inserted after induction of anesthesia and removed one hour after the operation. The tube in subgroup C was inserted as in subgroup B, but was taken out 12 hours after the operation. The total number of complications in the intubated group was significantly higher than in the tubeless group (P < 0.01). High temperature, atelectasis and miscellaneous complications were more frequent in the control group than in the study group (P < 0.01). Other complications such as nausea, vomiting, bronchopneumonia, and gastric dilatation, as well as the resolution of the postoperative ileus and hospital stay, were not of statistical significance. Fewer miscellaneous complications (P < 0.05) and less patient discomfort were found in subgroup A than in the other tubeless subgroups. Complications in the study group were easily controlled by conservative treatment and no serious complications resulted. Therefore, the routine use of NG suction as adjunctive therapy following abdominal operations is not advocated by this study.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)672-675
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican Surgeon
Issue number11
StatePublished - 1988


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