The use of mechanical bowel preparation in laparoscopic gynecologic surgery: a decision analysis


      The use of mechanical bowel preparation prior to laparoscopy is common in gynecology, but its use may affect the rates of perioperative events and complications. Our objective was to compare different mechanical bowel preparations using decision analysis techniques to determine the optimal preparation prior to laparoscopic gynecological surgery.

      Study Design

      A decision analysis was constructed modeling perioperative outcomes with the following mechanical bowel preparations: magnesium citrate, sodium phosphate, polyethylene glycol, enema, and no bowel preparation. Comparisons were made using published utility values. Secondary analyses included the percentages that had 1 or more preoperative events and 1 or more intra- or postoperative complications.


      Overall, the highest utility values were for no bowel preparation (0.98) and magnesium citrate (0.97), whereas the other values were as follows: enema (0.95), sodium phosphate (0.94), and polyethylene glycol (0.91). The difference between no bowel preparation and magnesium citrate was less than the published minimally important differences for utilities, so there is likely no real difference between these strategies. The probability of having at least 1 preoperative event was lowest for no bowel preparation (1%), whereas the probability of having at least 1 intra- or postoperative complication was lowest with magnesium citrate (8%).


      The highest utilities were seen with no bowel preparation, but the absolute difference between no bowel preparation and magnesium citrate was less than the minimally important difference. With similar overall utilities, our model raises questions as to whether mechanical bowel preparation is a necessary step prior to laparoscopic gynecological surgery. However, if a surgeon prefers a bowel preparation, magnesium citrate is the preferred option.

      Key words

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