Dysbiome and Its Role in Surgically Relevant Medical Disease

Surg Infect (Larchmt). 2023 Apr;24(3):226-231. doi: 10.1089/sur.2023.019.


Jennifer M Leonard 1Jose L Pascual 2 3Lewis J Kaplan 2 3


Author information

1Department of Surgery, Division of Acute Care Surgery, Washington University in St. Lous, St. Louis, Missouri, USA.

2Department of Surgery, Division of Trauma, Surgical Critical Care, and Emergency Surgery, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.

3Surgical Services, Section of Surgical Critical Care, Corporal Michael J. Crescenz VA Medical Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.


Several surgically relevant conditions are directly or indirectly influenced by the human microbiome. Different microbiomes may be found within, or along, specific organs and intra-organ variation is common. Such variations include those found along the course of the gastrointestinal tract as well as those on different regions of the skin. A variety of physiologic stressors and care interventions may derange the native microbiome. A deranged microbiome is termed a dysbiome and is characterized by decreased diversity and an increase in the proportion of potentially pathogenic organisms; the elaboration of virulence factors coupled with clinical consequences defines a pathobiome. Specific conditions such as Clostridium difficile colitis, inflammatory bowel disease, obesity, and diabetes mellitus are tightly linked to a dysbiome or pathobiome. Additionally, massive transfusion after injury appears to derange the gastrointestinal microbiome as well. This review explores what is known about these surgically relevant clinical conditions to chart how non-surgical interventions may support surgical undertakings or potentially reduce the need for operation.


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