Medical Nutrition: Pre-surgery diet vital to recovery, says study

By Nathan Gray

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Adipose tissue Dieting Nutrition

Medical Nutrition: Pre-surgery diet vital to recovery, says study
The last few meals before medical surgery might play a key role in in recovery after surgery, according to new research in animals.

The pre-clinical study, published in Surgery​, suggests that that consumption of a lower-fat diet in the weeks building up to a surgery had a positive impact on the recovery of mice from surgery.

Led by Dr C. Keith Ozaki from Brigham and Women's Hospital, USA, the research team said that trauma to fat tissue during surgery greatly impacts the chemical balance of fat tissue— and so also has an impact on communication with other internal organs.

The authors suggest that it may be possible to reduce this trauma by simply cutting out certain dietary elements. Such a strategy may be a feasible, inexpensive and effective way of protecting the body against stress from an operation, they said.

"Our results and those of others highlight that the quality of your fat tissues appears to be important, along with the total amount of body fat when it comes to the body's response to an operation,”​ he said.

Ozaki and his colleagues said that their results suggest that while fat is a very dominant tissue in the human body, its ability to rapidly change due to dietary intake might be leveraged to lessen complications in humans during stressful situations such as surgery.

In an accompanying review article Dr James Mitchell of Harvard School of Public Health, said the new findings suggest that restricting diet in humans before surgery ‘provides a unique opportunity’ to test whether this method will decrease the incidence and severity of surgical complications brought on by over-exuberant inflammation and other stressors.

Study details

The research involved mice that consumed either a high-fat diet (containing 60% calories from fat), or control diet (containing 10% calories from fat). Three weeks before surgery, researchers switched some of the high-fat diet mice to the normal diet.

The researchers then performed procedures that would occur during a typical operation - and observed that such surgical trauma rapidly affected the fat tissues located both near and away from the trauma site.

This resulted in increased inflammation and decreased specialized fat hormone synthesis, especially in the young adult mice and those that had a simulated wound infection.

Ozaki found that those mice that consumed the high-fat diet showed an exaggerated imbalanced response. However, restricting food intake to a lower-fat diet just a few weeks before surgery tended to reverse these activities for all mice age groups.

The team suggest that it could be of benefit to further study the suggested strategy in patients undergoing vascular surgery – a population that faces increased risks of surgical complications such as wound-healing problems, heart attack and stroke.

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