Conference Coverage

ERAS reduced opioid use, improved same-day discharge after gyn surgery

View on the News

Monitor for unintended ERAS consequences

The ERAS pathway described by Dr. Carter-Brooks embraces the core tenets of enhanced recovery, including standardized patient education, multimodal analgesia, and predefined postoperative metrics, according to invited discussant Mark Walters, MD.

Dr. Mark Walters

Dr. Mark Walters

“They documented reduced patient stays and excellent patient satisfaction when they introduced these deliberate and systematic performance improvement practices,” he said. “But implementing these protocols doesn’t happen in a vacuum.”

In fact, systematic culture change requires the involvement of surgeons, nurses, anesthesiologists, and administrative staff, Dr. Walters added.

“Additionally, such significant behavioral changes inevitably result in unintended consequences that must be carefully documented to learn how to mitigate harm in future patients,” he said.

Dr. Walters is professor and vice chair of gynecology in the Center of Urogynecology and Reconstructive Pelvic Surgery, department of obstetrics and gynecology at the Cleveland Clinic. He is a consultant and teacher for Coloplast.



ERAS – a multidisciplinary approach to patient perioperative care – involves implementation of evidence-based interventions to improve early discharge and length of stay in patients undergoing major elective surgery.

ERAS pathways, which are commonly used in colorectal surgery, were developed to hasten postoperative recovery and are now being increasingly adopted for gynecologic procedures, but data focusing on outcomes with ERAS in the prolapse repair setting are limited, Dr. Carter-Brooks noted.

The ERAS pathway in her study involved a preoperative optimization phase that included counseling about tobacco and alcohol cessation, education about ERAS pathway expectations, and recommendations regarding diet and exercise 1-2 weeks prior to surgery. On the day of surgery, the pathway involved a multimodal pain regimen and postoperative nausea and vomiting prevention.

In response to discussion questions about which interventions contributed most to improvements in same-day discharge rates and patient satisfaction, which interventions were most difficult to implement, and whether additional interventions could prevent readmissions, Dr. Carter-Brooks said that, in her experience the multimodal focus on pain and nausea/vomiting prevention has been particularly helpful, as has the emphasis on educating patients about the interventions and expectations.

Next Article: