Effects of intraperitoneal 4% icodextrin solution on the healing of bowel anastomoses and laparotomy incisions in rabbits

K. E. Rodgers, Shelagh J.S. Verco, G. S. diZerega

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Objective. Peri-operative lavage and postoperative instillation of a 4% icodextrin solution reduces de novo formation and reformation of peritoneal adhesions following abdominal surgery. This experimental study evaluated the effects of 4% icodextrin treatment on the healing of bowel anastomoses and laparotomy incisions. Materials and methods. Female New Zealand White rabbits (weight 2.21-2.77 kg) were randomised by ascending weight to one of 3 surgical treatments, each with 2 termination points (6 groups of 8 animals). The treatments were anastomotic bowel surgery alone or with lavage and postoperative instillation of either 4% icodextrin solution or Lactated Ringer's Solution (LRS). The solutions were coded A and B by the supplier, so that the study personnel were blinded to their identity. After the abdomen was opened, 30 ml of solution A or B was instilled and removed by aspiration prior to surgery. The ascending colon was then transected 5 cm aboral to the ileocaecal junction and the ends anastomosed. During surgery, 5 ml of the solution was applied 4 times at the surgical site, and a further 30 ml was administered and aspirated as a postoperative lavage. Just prior to closure of the abdominal wall, 50 ml of the solution was administered as a postoperative instillate. Duplicate treatment groups were terminated 7 and 21 days after surgery and the anastomotic sites inspected for adhesion and/or abscess formation. In 6 animals per group, an 8-12 cm length of colon including the anastomotic site was removed for measurement of bursting pressure, and a section of the abdominal wall including the incision line was tested for breaking strength. The other 2 animals per group provided tissue for histological analysis of wound healing at the bowel and incision sites. Results. There was no significant difference between the 3 treatment groups for any parameter (P > 0.05). Compared with the surgical control at either day 7 or 21 after surgery, the administration of solutions A or B did not affect the formation of abscesses or adhesions, the bursting strength of the bowel, or the tear strength of the abdominal wall incision. Histological assessment of the quality of wound healing showed no differences between treatment groups in inflammatory cell infiltration, fibroblast density, blood vessel formation or collagen maturity. Conclusions. The use of a 4% icodextrin solution for peri-operative lavage and postoperative instillation in a rabbit model of bowel anastomotic healing did not result in any difference from either LRS treated or untreated surgical controls.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)324-330
Number of pages7
JournalColorectal Disease
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Abdominal surgery
  • Adhesions
  • Anastomosis
  • Colorectal surgery
  • Glucose polymer
  • Icodextrin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology


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