Pre-Surgical Nutrition Support Reduces the Incidence of Surgical Wound Complications in Oncological Patients

Nutr Cancer. 2020;72(5):801-807. doi: 10.1080/01635581.2019.1653473. Epub 2019 Aug 21.


Patients who suffer from cancer are at a higher risk of complications when they experience malnutrition. Evidence shows that oral nutritional supplements favor the healing process. The main objective of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of preoperative oral nutritional intervention in oncological patients undergoing surgery. This study assessed retrospectively 55 cancer patients who previously had undergone abdominal surgery and did not have receive pre-surgical nutritional support (control group), and prospectively 30 oncological patients undergoing gastrointestinal surgery and received pre-surgical high-protein nutritional support (experimental group). All patients had to have a NRS 2002 score ≥ 3. Analytical and clinical parameters were analyzed and the NRS 2002 screening test was performed. Post-operative assessments of surgical wound complications were also carried out to determine the impact of nutrition support. Pre-surgical nutritional interventions reduced the incidence and severity of wound complications as well as the length of hospital stays. Only 26.7% of patients in the experimental group had complications compared to 60% of the control group (P = 0.003). We conclude that pre-surgical nutritional interventions of patients undergoing surgery can improve post-surgical patient outcomes of malnourished patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Enteral Nutrition / methods
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Nutritional Support / methods*
  • Preoperative Care / methods
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Surgical Procedures, Operative / adverse effects*
  • Surgical Wound / etiology
  • Surgical Wound / pathology
  • Surgical Wound / prevention & control*
  • Young Adult