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Surg Obes Relat Dis. 2018 Jun;14(6):849-856. doi: 10.1016/j.soard.2018.02.010. Epub 2018 Feb 13.

An enhanced recovery program for bariatric surgical patients significantly reduces perioperative opioid consumption and postoperative nausea.

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Department of Anesthesiology, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee.
Department of Surgical Science, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee.
Department of Anesthesiology, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee. Electronic address:
Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, Tennessee.



Patients frequently remain in the hospital after bariatric surgery due to pain, nausea, and inability to tolerate oral intake. Enhanced recovery after surgery (ERAS) concepts address these perioperative complications and therefore improve length of stay for bariatric surgery patients.


To determine if ERAS concepts increase the proportion of patients discharged on postoperative day 1. Secondary objectives included mean length of stay, perioperative opioid use, emergency department visits, and readmissions.


A large metropolitan university tertiary hospital.


A quantitative before and after study was conducted for patients undergoing bariatric surgical patients. Data were collected surrounding length of stay, perioperative opioid consumption, antiemetic therapy requirements postoperatively, multimodal analgesia compliance, emergency department visits, and hospital readmission rates. Wilcoxon rank-sum and χ2 test were used to compare continuous and categorical variables, respectively. A secondary analysis was performed using Aligned Rank Transformation and Cochran-Mantel-Haenszel χ2 tests to account for an increase in sleeve gastrectomies in the intervention group.


The 2 groups had clinically similar baseline characteristics. Comparison group (N = 366) and ERAS group (N = 715) patients underwent a primary bariatric surgery procedure. There was an increase in the number of patients undergoing a laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy in the intervention group. After accounting for this increase, the percentage of patients discharged on postoperative day 1 was unchanged (79.8% non-ERAS versus 83.1% ERAS, P = .52). ERAS length of stay was statistically significantly lower for gastric bypass (P<.001) and robotic gastric bypass (P = .01). Perioperative opioid consumption was reduced (41.0 versus 16.2 morphine equivalents, P<0.001), and fewer ERAS patients required postoperative antiemetics (68.8% versus 46.2%, P<.001). Emergency department visits at 7 days were reduced (6.0% versus 3.2%, P = .04), but hospital readmission rates were unchanged.


Implementing ERAS did not reduce the percentage of patients discharged on postoperative day 1 in a bariatric surgery program with historically low length of stay, but it led to significant reductions in perioperative opioid use, decreases in postoperative nausea, and early emergency room visits.


Bariatric surgery; Enhanced recovery after surgery; Length of stay; Opioid consumption

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