External Nursing Applications in the Supportive Management of Prolonged Postoperative Ileus: Description of Interventions and Case Report

Holist Nurs Pract. 2016 Jul-Aug;30(4):216-21. doi: 10.1097/HNP.0000000000000158.


Prolonged postoperative ileus is a common but clinically challenging problem that leads to patient discomfort and prolonged hospitalization; the condition is managed through a multimodular program of supportive measures. In anthroposophic nursing, the management of prolonged postoperative ileus involves additional tools, including external abdominal compresses and massages with plant or silver-containing oils and ointments. We describe 3 typical techniques: Oxalis tincture compresses, Thuja/Argentum ointment compresses, and massage with "Wala Melissenöl" (containing Melissa officinalis, Carvum cari, Foeniculum amari, and Origanum majorana). A 61-year-old man with chronic pain from adhesions after multiple abdominal surgical procedures developed a prolonged postoperative ileus after an elective ileostomy reversal. Following slow recovery during the first postoperative days, he began vomiting. A nasogastric tube was inserted, and daily Oxalis tincture compresses and massage with "Wala Melissenöl" and Thuja/Argentum ointment compresses were applied on the abdomen. The patient's symptoms gradually improved over the next 10 days. No prokinetic medications were needed to manage this episode. External abdominal nursing applications with plant substances and silver can be an additional tool in the management of prolonged postoperative ileus.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Compression Bandages
  • Holistic Health*
  • Holistic Nursing*
  • Humans
  • Ileus / nursing*
  • Ileus / therapy*
  • Male
  • Massage
  • Middle Aged
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use
  • Postoperative Complications / nursing*
  • Postoperative Complications / therapy*
  • Thuja / chemistry


  • Plant Extracts