The opposing forces of the intestinal microbiome and the emerging pathobiome

Surg Clin North Am. 2014 Dec;94(6):1151-61. doi: 10.1016/j.suc.2014.08.002. Epub 2014 Oct 7.


This article summarizes emerging concepts on the role of the intestinal microbiome in surgical patients. Revolutionary research over the past decade has shown that human beings live in close and constant contact with boundless communities of microbes. Recent innovations in the study of the human microbiome are reviewed. To demonstrate the applicability of these studies to surgical disease, the authors discuss what is known about the role of microbes in the pathogenesis of perioperative complications. Enhanced awareness of the human microbiome will empower clinicians to adopt novel practices in the prevention and treatment of a variety of surgical conditions.

Keywords: Anastomotic leak; Bacteria; Infection; Metabolomics; Microbiome; Proteomics; Sepsis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anastomotic Leak / microbiology
  • Anastomotic Leak / prevention & control
  • Antibiotic Prophylaxis
  • Cathartics / adverse effects
  • Drug Resistance, Bacterial
  • Humans
  • Intestines / microbiology*
  • Intestines / surgery
  • Metagenomics
  • Microbiota* / drug effects
  • Microbiota* / genetics
  • Postoperative Complications / microbiology
  • Postoperative Complications / prevention & control
  • Preoperative Care / adverse effects
  • Preoperative Care / methods
  • Proteomics
  • Sepsis / etiology
  • Sepsis / microbiology
  • Sepsis / prevention & control
  • Surgical Wound Infection / microbiology*
  • Surgical Wound Infection / prevention & control


  • Cathartics