Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) that compared polymeric nutritional supplements with immunonutritional additives to a control group that received traditional care (intravenous fluids) or polymeric nutritional supplements in patients receiving head and neck surgery for cancer were eligible for inclusion. Most included trials compared polymeric feeds with immunonutrition. Pre-operation supplementation ranged from >5 days to 10 days. Post-operation supplementation was >10 days in most studies; only a small number of studies used pre-operation supplementation in addition to post-operation supplementation. Outcomes included biochemical or immunological changes, wound infections, fistula formation, mortality, length of postoperative hospital stay and quality of life. Mean patient age ranged from 55 to 63 years in the control groups and 59 to 63 years of age in the active groups. Mean body mass index (BMI), where reported, ranged from 23.2 to 25.1 in the control groups and 22.1 to 26.2 in the active groups.
The authors stated neither how the papers were selected for the review nor how many reviewers performed the selection.