Background: A period of starvation after colorectal anastomosis to permit for resolution of the clinical evidence of ileus has been an unchallenged surgical dogma until recent years. We intended to determine the safety and feasibility of an unconventional postoperative oral intake protocol in patients experiencing colorectal anastomosis. Materials and Methods: Between 2013 and 2015, sixty consecutive patients underwent colorectal anastomosis and they were randomized into two groups. The early feeding group began fluids on the first postoperative day while the regular feeding group was managed in the traditional way - nothing by mouth until the complete resolution of ileus. Results: The majority of patients (93%) tolerated the early feeding. The times to first passage of flatus (2.66 ± 0.71 days vs. 3.9 ± 0.071 days) and stool (3.9 ± 0.92 days vs. 5.4 ± 0.77 days) were significantly quicker in early feeding group. Hospital stay was also significantly shorter in the early feeding group (4 ± 0.64 days vs. 6.1 ± 0.84 days). Anastomosis leakage and abscess formation were not seen in early feeding group. The patient's satisfaction (visual analog scale) in the early feeding group was higher than delayed feeding group (8.56 ± 1.16 vs. 7.06 ± 1.59, P < 0.001). Conclusions: Early oral feeding after colorectal surgeries is safe and tolerated by the majority of patients.
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