Medium-chain triacylglycerols (MCTs) have been shown to provide better nutritional support than long-chain triacylglycerols (LCTs). This study compares the efficacy of MCT combined with LCT with LCT alone in pediatric patients with surgical stress. Two groups of patients (n = 19 in each) received equivalent amounts of glucose (12 g. kg. d) and amino acids (2 g. kg. d), but one group received 10% Lipofundin MCT/LCT and the other received 10% LCT (1.5 g. kg. d) in a randomized study. Total parenteral nutrition (TPN) was given for 14 d. Blood and urine samples were collected before and after TPN administration for determination of various biochemical parameters. Indirect calorimetry was also performed to determine respiratory quotients and fuel utilization. After 14 d of TPN in the MCT/LCT group, there was a significantly higher blood lymphocyte percentage, a decreasing tendency of serum asparate aminotransferase and of total and direct bilirubin (P < 0.05). These changes were not observed in the LCT group. A significantly better nitrogen balance and a higher ketogenesis from day 3 were observed in the MCT/LCT group. The MCT/LCT group showed a more marked increased utilization of fat than the LCT group, whereas carbohydrate oxidation was less in the MCT/LCT group than in the LCT group (P < 0.05). In children after surgery, MCT/LCT is more protein sparing and induces a better immune response when compared with LCT-containing lipid emulsion. A TPN regimen containing MCT/LCT is likely to result in rapid oxidation of fats for energy without compromising the respiratory system.