Results of colon surgery at the turn of this century, as compared with the results of the present day, are marked by great improvement in recent years. This improvement has been due to many factors. The most important of all has been the careful preoperative preparation of the patients. Formerly, patients were admitted to the hospital and in a day or two were operated on. The bowels were full of feces and teeming with bacteria, and as a result the mortality after operation often ranged from 60 to 70 per cent, even in the hands of the best surgeons.
In the past ten or fifteen years, however, it became apparent that certain measures could be taken to reduce mortality. It was shown that one cause of the high morbidity and mortality was lack of preoperative preparation. It became an axiom in our service that operation should not be performed unless