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Chances are, you will be preparing for surgery at some point in your lifetime. In fact, according to one study across three states1, a person in the US has an average of 9.2 surgical procedures in their lifetime, 3.4 of which are inpatient operations.

As part of your preparation for surgery, you will go through the pre-op visit and get a preadmission checklist. This may lead you to believe that all aspects of your care are covered. Unfortunately, however, your presurgery nutrition can be a big gap in care.

We’re talking about the nutritional therapy gap.

Nutritional Therapy Gap


In a recent USA Today article, Dr. William Wooden, the Director of Operative Services at Indiana University Health and the James E. Bennett Professor of Surgery at Indiana University School of Medicine, says, “The reality is most of us are not healthy enough (for surgery).”2

Nutritional Therapy Checklist

The right nutritional therapy is essential to your surgery prep. It can make a difference in how long you stay in the hospital, whether you are readmitted or if you suffer from a postoperative infection.3,4

At Indiana University Health, patients are given a five-day supply of IMPACT Advanced Recovery® Immunonutrition Drink before major surgery “to prime the immune system and address nutritional deficiencies that could affect the outcome.”2 Unfortunately, less than 500 hospitals nationwide currently use this presurgical immunonutrition drink.


What is immunonutrition?

Immunonutrition is the use of specific nutrients to meet the unique nutritional needs of the body undergoing major surgery to support the immune system and promote recovery. Clinical studies in major surgery patients show that the most patient benefit is when the immunonutrition contains arginine, omega-3 fatty acids and dietary nucleotides.5


Compared to standard nutrition, IMPACT Advanced Recovery® Immunonutrition Drink contains a unique blend of nutrients that has been shown to help reduce the risk of urinary tract and certain other infections after a variety of major surgeries (including head and neck cancer and GI cancer surgeries).5,6,7 IMPACT Advanced Recovery® Immunonutrition Drink has been shown to help reduce hospital stays for major surgery patients.5

How can you use specialized nutritional therapy in your presurgery diet?

When preparing for major surgery, the nutritional therapy gap is avoidable with a little planning.

immunonutrition can help bridge the Nutritional Therapy Gap


Many nutritional therapy experts agree it is important to use immunonutrition therapy before and after your operation. “For example,” says Mary Miranowski, Medical Scientific Liaison and Registered Dietitian at Nestlé Health Science, “when a doctor recommends our IMPACT Advanced Recovery® Immunonutrition Drink, the evidence-based protocol is to drink three cartons each day for five days before and after your major surgery. However, this product is not indicated when immune suppression is desired.”

Talk to your doctor about immunonutrition and whether IMPACT Advanced Recovery® Immunonutrition Drink is right for you.

Take control of your surgical preparation

Discover the science behind immunonutrition and how your body reacts to major surgery.


  1. Lee P, et al. How many surgical procedures will Americans experience in an average lifetime? Evidence from three states. As accessed online at Massachusetts Chapter of American College of Surgeons website.
  3. Bharadwaj S, et al. Should perioperative immunonutrition for elective surgery be the current standard of care? Gastroenterol Rep. (oxf). 2016 May 4(2): 87-95.
  4. Banerjee S et al. Effects of arginine-based immunonutrition on inpatient total costs and hospitalization outcomes for patients undergoing colorectal surgery. Nutrition 2017 published on line
  5. Drover JW, et al. Perioperative use of arginine-supplemented diets: a systematic review of the evidence. J Am Coll Surg. 2011; 212(3): 385-399.
  6. Bertrand BJ, et al. Impact of Preoperative Immunonutrition on Morbidity Following Cystectomy for Bladder Cancer: A Case-Control Pilot Study. World J Urol. 2014; 32:233-237.
  7. Waitzberg DL, Saito H, et al. Postsurgical infections are reduced with specialized nutrition support. World J Surg. 2006; 30:1592-1604.