| One-Minute Clinician

Enhanced Recovery After Surgery: Out of Its Infancy

Enhanced recovery after surgery (ERAS) is not a new technique or modality. It’s been around since the 1980s. It was developed by a gastrointestinal surgeon from Europe, and has started to come into emergence. Why? #1 reason: improved patient outcomes. Another? Economic impact in terms of services rendered and what patients are getting for every dollar spent.

  • While “enhanced recovery” is a seemingly new buzzword in the community, it’s here to stay
  • Every patient is individual
  • There is no one recipe: we must manage each patient according to specific needs
  • Technologies are emerging, like genomics, that will someday enable tailored medications
  • We have education behind us: art and science are coming together
  • The impact is astronomical in comparison to what we used to do and see in outcomes

An example:

  • Lower abdominal surgeries typically last 12 to 16 hours
  • Prior to implementing ERAS protocols, patients would be in bed for days or weeks
  • We are now releasing patients ~2 to 4 days after surgery
  • Patients are now ambulating within hours after surgery