Effect of preoperative suggestion on postoperative gastrointestinal motility

E. A. Disbrow, H. L. Bennett, John T Owings

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

97 Scopus citations


Autonomic behavior is subject to direct suggestion. We found that patients undergoing major operations benefit more from instruction than from information and reassurance. We compared the return of intestinal function after intra-abdominal operations in 2 groups of patients: the suggestion group received specific instructions for the early return of gastrointestinal motility, and the control group received an equal-length interview offering reassurance and nonspecific instructions. The suggestion group had a significantly shorter average time to the return of intestinal motility, 2.6 versus 4.1 days. Time to discharge was 6.5 versus 8.1 days. Covariates including duration of operation, amount of intraoperative bowel manipulation, and amount of postoperative narcotics were also examined using the statistical model analysis of covariance. An average savings of $1,200 per patient resulted from this simple 5-minute intervention. In summary, the use of specific physiologically active suggestions given preoperatively in a believable manner can reduce the morbidity associated with an intra-abdominal operation by reducing the duration of ileus.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)488-492
Number of pages5
JournalWestern Journal of Medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Effect of preoperative suggestion on postoperative gastrointestinal motility'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this