Objectives: It is a common practice to start oral feeding after 7 to 10 days in patients who have undergone laryngeal surgeries. It was our observation that when oral feeds were initiated earlier than this period, there was no increase in the incidence of pharyngocutaneous fistulas. This prospective study is about our experience in initiating early oral feeds in the postoperative period (on the 2nd day) in laryngectomized patients. Methods: Seventy-eight patients underwent laryngectomy with or without partial pharyngectomy over a period of 38 months between October 2001 and December 2004. The oral feeds were initiated on the 2nd postoperative day in 40 patients. Thirty-eight patients served as controls in whom feeds were initiated after the 10th postoperative day. Results: Only 1 patient in the study group and 2 patients in the control group developed pharyngocutaneous fistulas. Most patients in the control group wished to avoid nasogastric intubation in the recovery period because of discomfort, gastric symptoms, and the need to taste food. Conclusions: With this study we can assume that in a select group of patients, it is possible to initiate oral feeding much earlier in the postoperative period than was formerly thought. @copy; 2006 Annals Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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