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J Laparoendosc Adv Surg Tech A. 2017 Sep;27(9):863-870. doi: 10.1089/lap.2017.0317. Epub 2017 Aug 10.

The Development of Enhanced Recovery After Surgery Across Surgical Specialties.

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1 Department of Surgery, Brigham and Women's Hospital/Harvard Medical School , Boston, Massachusetts.
2 Department of Surgery, VA Boston Healthcare System , West Roxbury, Massachusetts.



Enhanced recovery after surgery (ERAS®) principles have gained traction in variety of surgical disciplines. The promise of a reduced length of stay without compromising patient safety or increasing readmission rates has produced a body of literature examining the implementation of ERAS in the care of general, thoracic, urologic, and gynecologic surgery patients.


We performed a review of the literature pertaining to studies of ERAS implementation across colorectal surgery, general surgery, thoracic surgery, urology, and gynecology. The extent of ERAS implementation and reported outcomes across key studies as well as systematic reviews and meta-analyses in each field were summarized.


The implementation of ERAS protocols has not been uniform across surgical specialties. Despite this, ERAS has produced improvements in patient outcomes. The most commonly described benefit of ERAS application has been reduced length of stay; complication and readmission rates are most consistently decreased in the colorectal literature. Studies have started to measure more nuanced measures of postoperative patient well-being. Efforts are growing to standardize ERAS protocols across diverse fields and call attention to the need for quality control.


Challenges remain in the study and execution of ERAS. Controlling for adherence to ERAS components and implementing uniform ERAS protocols across studies are burgeoning topics that have significant implications for study design. The practice of ERAS and its benefits to patients are expected to evolve. Assessing improvements in postdischarge quality of life, timing of return to work and independent living, and adherence to scheduled delivery of adjuvant treatments will strengthen future ERAS investigations.


ERAS; fast track; general surgery; postoperative length of stay

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