Does it matter what a patient eats before surgery?
According to a new study led by Brigham and Women’s Hospital researchers, the type of food that patients eat in the days leading up to surgery, as well as their long-term dietary habits, may have a significant impact on their recovery. Partners from the Center for Cancer Computational Biology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and from the Department of Genetics and Complex Diseases at the Harvard School of Public Health also contributed to the findings.
Specifically, the research team found that consuming a high-fat diet, as compared to a low-fat diet, leads to higher levels of post-surgical inflammation in the fatty tissue traumatized during major surgery. This inflammation, in turn, may drive complications such as heart attacks and wound problems.
The pre-clinical study suggests that patients who habitually follow a low-fat diet may fare best in minimizing post-surgical fat inflammation. Importantly, the researchers also observed that short-term behavior modification can reap benefits. Their findings revealed that in the setting of a high-fat diet, patients might significantly lower their levels of post-surgical inflammation simply by shifting to a low-fat diet for a short time frame before surgery.