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Suction in Abdominal Surgery

Bernard J. Ficarra, MD
JAMA. 1966;196(10):919. doi:10.1001/jama.1966.03100230163051.
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To the Editor:—  The editorial "Abdominal Surgery Without Gastrointestinal Suction" states: "The rationale for gastric decompression is prevention and treatment of postoperative abdominal distention." (195:682, 1966)Modern surgery does not subscribe to the teaching of nasogastric intubation for gaseous distention. It is quite unusual for the surgeon of today to employ suction for this purpose. Surgical experiment has proved that only segmental small bowel decompression can be accomplished by either long or short indwelling tubes. Therefore, intubation fails to serve the purpose for which it was intended, and more often than not suction disturbs or depletes the body of valuable electrolytes.Another statement emphasizes that "Suction is valuable if proper indications exist, as in patients with gastrointestinal bleeding or abdominal trauma (to determine the presence of active bleeding)..." Although this is true, another reason for suction should be considered. Since most surgeons employ the hemostatic Connell suture for gastroenterostomy


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