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Enhanced Recovery After Surgery

​​​​What is Enhanced Recovery After Surgery?  

Enhanced Recovery After Surgery is a term used to describe a program of best practices.  It has been shown to improve patient outcomes after surgery and reduce surgical complications.  This means patients who are on an Enhanced Recovery Program often return home sooner and are less likely to have problems after surgery.  The Enhanced Recovery Program also allows the patient to take part in their own recovery, increases the patient’s comfort, and lowers the patient’s reaction to surgery induced stress.

How is the Enhanced Recovery Program different from traditional surgery?

The Enhanced Recovery Program combines several best practices into one program.  Best practices are techniques that have been researched and have been proven to have better outcomes than traditional techniques.  Some of the differences include:

Pre-Operative Fluid Loading

Patients on the Enhanced Recovery Program are allowed to drink fluids up to two hours before surgery.  Doing so ensures patients are hydrated for their surgery and makes for a more pleasant experience.  Being well hydrated for surgery can reduce nausea and complications after surgery.  

Multimodal Pain Management

Pain is managed in multiple ways on the Enhanced Recovery Program as opposed to only one or two ways with traditional surgery.  The goal of an Enhanced Recovery Program is to keep the pain after surgery managed to a functional level.  This allows the patient to walk, breathe deeply, and participate in their care.

Less Lines, Tubes, and Drains

Part of an Enhanced Recovery Program is reducing any unnecessary lines, tubes or drains.  Patients on this pathway do not routinely receive Nasogastric tubes and/or Foley catheters.  These are lines that can cause discomfort for the patient and can pose potential risk for infection.  Additionally, surgical drains are kept to a minimum on the Enhanced Recovery Program, and used only if necessary.

Reduced Surgery-Induced Stress

Having surgery is stressful on the body and mind.  The Enhanced Recovery Program addresses this issue by keeping patients well-informed and managing their overall health.  Improved patient education, preoperative reminders, increased hydration before surgery, and improved pain management are just some of the ways the Enhanced Recovery Program accomplishes this.

Decreased Hospital Stay

Patients on the Enhanced Recovery Program typically recover faster from surgery and are therefore allowed to spend less time in the hospital than on a traditional pathway. Less time in the hospital means patients and their families can return to a normal lifestyle faster.  This also reduces the likelihood of having postoperative complications.  

How does a patient qualify for the Enhanced Recovery Program?

All patients, no matter how young or old, can be on an Enhanced Recovery Program.  Care is always individualized for each patient no matter what pathway your surgeon chooses.  Ask your surgeon for more details about receiving Enhanced Recovery care.

Typical Hospital Stay for an Enhanced Recovery Patient

Day of Surgery Day 1 Day 2 Day of Discharge
Pain control started before surgeryMedications given to control pain Bandages removed Discharge instructions reviewed
Allowed to drink up to two hours before surgery Food and snacks allowed Food and snacks allowed Follow up appointments made
Pain controlled multiple ways after surgery Walking and sitting in chairWalking and sitting in chairMedications provided or called in
Fluids and crackers allowed after surgery
Foley catheter removedShower Ride arranged
Up to chair and walking by afternoon of surgeryPlans made for discharge

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