Document Type: Research Articles
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Rajavithi Hospital, Bangkok, Thailand.
College of Medicine, Rangsit University, Bangkok, Thailand.
Objective: To evaluate the efficacy of postoperative gum-chewing compare with routine postoperative care on the recovery of gastrointestinal function after comprehensive surgical staging for gynecological cancer. Materials and methods: A total of 82 patients who underwent comprehensive surgical staging for gynecological cancer at Rajavithi Hospital between October 1st, 2018 and June 30th, 2019 were randomly allocated into two groups: Gum-chewing group (n=40) and control group (n=42). In the gum-chewing group, patients were assigned to chew sugar-free gum for 30 minutes starting from the first postoperative morning then every 8 hours until the first passage of flatus. In the control group, patients have received routine postoperative care. The primary endpoint was time to first flatus after surgery. The secondary endpoints were time to first bowel sound, time to first defecation, time to first walk, postoperative analgesia and anti-emetic drug requirement, ileus symptoms, length of a hospital stay, and potential adverse events of gum-chewing, including dry mount, choking, and aspiration. Result: Chewing gum was statistically significant in reducing time to first flatus compared with routine postoperative care (median 24.7 (range 2.2-86.5) vs 35.4 (range 7.2-80.9) hours, p=0.025). The length of a hospital stay was also significantly shorter in the gum-chewing group (median 3.0 (range 1.0-8.8) vs 3.5 (range 1.8-50.0) days, p=0.023). There were no significant differences in time to first bowel sound, time to first defecation, time to first walk, postoperative analgesia and anti-emetic drug requirement, and ileus symptoms between both two groups. No adverse events related to postoperative gum-chewing were observed. Conclusion: Gum-chewing was associated with early recovery of gastrointestinal function in patients undergoing surgery for gynecological cancer. It is an inexpensive and physiologic intervention that appears to be reasonably safe and should be recommended as an adjunct in postoperative care of gynecological cancer surgery.