Effect of Postoperative Diclofenac on Anastomotic Strength and Histologic Healing in Rabbit Small Intestine

Sebastian Greves, Petter L Bremseth, Matteo Biagini, René Holst, Niels Qvist

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In this experimental study, we investigated the effects of a 5-day postoperative treatment with the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) diclofenac on anastomotic healing in rabbits. NSAIDs are widely used analgesics in today's "fast-track surgery," raising concerns about their potential negative effects on healing in humans. A total of 33 New Zealand White female rabbits underwent laparotomy and 2 separate end-to-end anastomoses of the ileum. The animals were randomized to receive subcutaneous diclofenac 4 mg/kg/d (17 experimental rabbits) or subcutaneous isotonic saline 0.1 mL/kg/d (16 control rabbits) postoperatively. On the fifth postoperative day, the animals were humanely killed, and anastomotic leakage, anastomotic breaking strength, and histopathologic changes were evaluated. Breaking strength in the diclofenac group was 21% lower than in the placebo group (P= 0.027). Anastomotic leakage was found in 4 rabbits in the diclofenac group (26.7%). The rabbits treated with diclofenac demonstrated a 16% lower collagen deposition compared with the placebo group (P = 0.008). In our study, postoperative treatment with diclofenac had a negative effect on the anastomotic healing and strength in the ileum of rabbits. Caution should be taken in the use of diclofenac after gastrointestinal surgery.

TidsskriftInternational Surgery
Udgave nummer11-12
Sider (fra-til)1435–1442
StatusUdgivet - 1. nov. 2015


  • Diclofenac
  • anastomotic strength
  • Histologic healing
  • postoperative effect


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