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  1. Rhodes, Leslie N.
  2. Loman, Deborah G.
  3. Bultas, Margaret W.


BACKGROUND: Orthopaedic procedures place children at risk for postoperative constipation due to combined effects of anesthesia, narcotics, and decreased physical mobility.


PURPOSE: This retrospective study analyzed medication use and stool outcomes of 36 children who received polyethylene glycol 3350 (PEG) or mineral oil (MO) after a spinal fusion.


METHODS AND RESULTS: A chart review found no statistical differences by group for number of bowel movements (BMs) before discharge (p = .37), time from procedure to BM, use of rescue cathartics (p = .55), or medication refusal (p = .37). In the PEG group, 90% refused the medication one or more times compared with 75% in the MO group.


CONCLUSION: Only 17% of patients had a BM before discharge. Findings suggest medication refusal may be related to the method of medication preparation, suggesting the child's choice in bowel regimens may be indicated. A prospective study with a larger, randomized sample size is needed.