The gut microbiota and colorectal surgery outcomes: facts or hype? A narrative review

Domenico D'Ugo, Antonio Gasbarrini, Alberto Biondi, Roberto Persiani, Annamaria Agnes, Caterina Puccioni

Risultato della ricerca: Contributo in rivistaArticolo in rivista


Background: The gut microbiota (GM) has been proposed as one of the main determinants of colorectal surgery complications and theorized as the “missing factor” that could explain still poorly understood complications. Herein, we investigate this theory and report the current evidence on the role of the GM in colorectal surgery. Methods: We first present the findings associating the role of the GM with the physiological response to surgery. Second, the change in GM composition during and after surgery and its association with colorectal surgery complications (ileus, adhesions, surgical-site infections, anastomotic leak, and diversion colitis) are reviewed. Finally, we present the findings linking GM science to the application of the enhanced recovery after surgery (ERAS) protocol, for the use of oral antibiotics with mechanical bowel preparation and for the administration of probiotics/synbiotics. Results: According to preclinical and translational evidence, the GM is capable of influencing colorectal surgery outcomes. Clinical evidence supports the application of an ERAS protocol and the preoperative administration of multistrain probiotics/synbiotics. GM manipulation with oral antibiotics with mechanical bowel preparation still has uncertain benefits in right-sided colic resection but is very promising for left-sided colic resection. Conclusions: The GM may be a determinant of colorectal surgery outcomes. There is an emerging need to implement translational research on the topic. Future clinical studies should clarify the composition of preoperative and postoperative GM and the impact of the GM on different colorectal surgery complications and should assess the validity of GM-targeted measures in effectively reducing complications for all colorectal surgery locations.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)83-100
Numero di pagine18
RivistaBMC Surgery
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2021


  • Anastomotic Leak
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Antibiotic Prophylaxis
  • Colonic Diseases
  • Colorectal Surgery
  • Digestive System Surgical Procedures
  • Elective Surgical Procedures
  • Enhanced Recovery After Surgery
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome
  • Humans
  • Microbiota
  • Oral antibiotic preparation
  • Postoperative Complications
  • Preoperative Care
  • Probiotics
  • Surgical Wound Infection
  • Surgical site infections
  • anastomotic leak
  • colorectal surgery

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