Background: Mechanical bowel preparation before colonic surgery is widely advocated but remains controversial. Recent guidelines published by the Clinical Standards Board for Scotland recommend mechanical bowel preparation prior to surgery for all colorectal cancers but this may be inappropriate. This study examines the outcome of a policy of no mechanical preparation before elective right hemicolectomy. Method: Data on 102 consecutive patients undergoing elective right or extended right hemicolectomy for colonic adenocarcinoma were extracted from a prospective database. Results: No clinical anastomotic leaks were observed. Two patients developed wound infections and one patient died with no autopsy evidence of anastomotic leak. Conclusion: Mechanical bowel preparation can safely be omitted prior to right hemicolectomy in patients with colonic cancer.