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Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS) - Faster Recovery & Reduced Complications After Major Surgery


What is ERAS?

Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS) is a care pathway for a specific procedure that includes a set of pre-determined activities, rules, and guidance. The purpose of these ERAS pathways is to expedite and enhance recovery after surgeries.

What are the different activities and guidelines involved in implementing ERAS?

According to the ERAS® Society website, there are “about 20 care elements that have been shown to influence care time and postoperative complications." It involves coordinated effort of the patient, family, surgeon, anesthetist and nurse practitioners. The diagram below describes in brief about the various steps involved before surgery, during surgery and after surgery for effective implementation of ERAS.


What is the rationale behind ERAS?

The main challenge any patient awaiting surgery faces is the journey through different surgeons, anesthetists, nurse practitioners, nutritionists, physiotherapists and many others. Each one has their own protocols, views, focus and practices. These practices can affect the patient as there may not be co-ordination. Very few people see the patient as a whole through this entire journey. Hence, ERAS gives a common protocol for all to follow so as to fasten the recovery of the patient after surgery. This protocol has been shown to reduce the patient’s surgical stress response, optimize their physiologic function, and facilitate recovery.

What are the advantages of implementing ERAS?

The following are the proven advantages of ERAS:

  • Length of hospital stay is significantly reduced for the patient after implementing ERAS. This is due to faster recovery from major surgery and in turn leads to early return to work and activities of the patient. Hence there is a significant improvement in patient satisfaction.

  • Complications rates have been shown to be reduced up to 50% if ERAS is implemented as compared to conventional methods.

  • Decreased costs to the patient and the hospital as the length of stay is shorter and significantly reduced re-admission rates

In view of these benefits, make sure to ask your surgeon and anesthetists about implementation of ERAS before undergoing any major surgery.

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