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Review of the pathophysiology and management of postoperative ileus.

Investigations in the pathophysiology and treatment of postoperative ileus continue to evolve. Bowel rest is no longer a mandatory component of postoperative recovery. Tolerance of enteral nutrition and normalization of the abdominal examination are more accurate indications of the resolution of postoperative ileus than passage of flatus or first bowel movement. A multimodal "fast track" recovery approach incorporated into a clinical pathway provides a more rapid return of intestinal function and shortened hospital stay in patients undergoing major, uncomplicated gastrointestinal surgery.

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