Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS)
Enhanced Recovery After Surgery, or ERAS, is an innovative and evidence-based approach to
surgery that is resulting in improved outcomes for our patients at Baptist Health. Changes in
the long-established routines before, during and after surgery are helping people recover
How is ERAS different?
Leading up to surgery, patients are encouraged to eat a well-balanced diet, exercise, and even quit smoking, which can slow the healing process. Getting enough protein every day helps patients build strength and prepare their bodies for surgery.
Instead of patients showing up for surgery weak and hungry from fasting after midnight, patients are now encouraged to fuel their body for surgery. That means eating and carbohydrate loading, with clear liquids allowed up to two hours before scheduled arrival time for surgery.
Using non-narcotic pain medications and targeted anesthesia help ward off unwelcome post-surgery side effects, such as nausea, dizziness and constipation. And since IV fluids are kept to a minimum, swelling is reduced and patients are able to get up and move sooner after surgery.
- Clinical studies show that ERAS improves patient outcomes, reduces complications and decreases their time in the hospital.
- After surgery, patients are more alert, less nauseous, able to eat solid foods sooner, and regain bowel functions faster.
ERAS at Baptist Health
Since implementing ERAS protocols at Baptist Health, we’ve seen improvements that mean our patients are recovering faster and able to return to normal activities more quickly.
37% reduction in length of stay
21% reduction in opioid use
*colorectal surgery patients
Which surgeries use ERAS?
Since 2017, Baptist Health has implemented ERAS protocols in several specialties, with more on the way.
- Gynecologic oncology
Because the ERAS approach is so successful at preparing the body for surgery, we’ve taken the pre-operative component, including no more fasting after midnight, and applied it to all appropriate surgeries at Baptist Health.
A team approach
A big part of the success of enhanced recovery is the coordination and communication between all caregivers involved. From surgeons, anesthesiologists, nurses and pharmacists, to physical therapists, nutritionists and more, our multi-disciplinary team works together with the patient to improve quality of care.
What To Expect For Your Surgery
Here’s what you may experience before, during and after your ERAS surgery. For your scheduled surgery, please refer to the personalized instructions from your Pre-Admission Clinical Evaluation (PACE) appointment.
- At your PACE visit, you will learn how to prepare for your surgery and what to expect during and after surgery.
- A well-balanced diet, plenty of fluids and exercise are encouraged. Specific instructions will include the recommended amount of protein you should have each day to prepare your body for surgery.
- Fasting used to be commonplace to empty the stomach before surgery. It turns out that we need energy from food and liquids to power through to recovery. Some patients are even given a special pre-surgery carbohydrate drink, which supports blood sugar levels and fuels recovery.
- We strongly recommend you stop tobacco use before surgery, because it weakens the immune system, reduces oxygen levels and slows the wound healing process.
- Targeted pain relief is used to help speed up your recovery time from the anesthesia, so you can begin your recovery from the surgery sooner.
- You will receive the precise amount of fluids tailored specifically for you. Too much fluid can cause swelling, which stresses the body and can make it more difficult for patients to get up and move after surgery.
- Bed rest actually delays recovery, so we’ll get you out of bed as soon as possible after surgery and encourage you to eat seated in a chair. Standing and walking helps you use your lungs more and reduces the need for pain medication.
- To manage your pain comfortably, non-narcotic medications are preferred since they have less risk of side effects. Narcotic painkillers can complicate recovery by slowing bowel function and causing dizziness.
- You may be given chewing gum because it helps improve digestion.