Preoperative bowel preparation - A survey of colon and rectal surgeons

Julio A. Solla, David A. Rothenberger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

113 Scopus citations


A survey of 500 clinically active, board-certified colon and rectal surgeons in the United States and Canada was conducted to obtain data regarding current methods of bowel preparation for elective colorectal surgery. A review of recent publications on preoperative bowel preparation was used to compare the current literature recommendations with the actual practice among the group surveyed. Responses were received from 352 of 500 colorectal surgeons to whom questionnaires were sent (70 percent response rate). All respondents used a mechanical preparation and some form of antibiotics. The favorite antibiotic regimen was oral antimicrobials combined with systemic antibiotics (88 percent). Concomitant administration of oral neomycin-erythromycin base and a systemic second generation cephalosporin active against both anaerobic and aerobic colonic bacteria, together with oral polyethelene glycol electrolyte mechanical colonic cleansing, was the most popular method of preoperative bowel preparation (58 percent). The second most frequent method of mechanical bowel cleansing consisted of conventional enemas, dietary restrictions, and cathartic preparations (36 percent). Mannitol solution (5 percent), and whole-gut irrigation per nasogastric tube (1 percent) were the least popular methods of mechanical bowel cleansing. The literature supports the current methods of preoperative bowel preparation used by the vast majority of surgeons surveyed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)154-159
Number of pages6
JournalDiseases of the Colon & Rectum
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 1990


  • Bowel preparation
  • Prophylactic antibiotics
  • cleansing
  • colonic

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