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Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS) Program

Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS) is a new surgery protocol that streamlines patient processes before, during and after surgeries. The program aims to shorten the length of stay for patients and facilitate early mobility and recovery while improving outcomes and patients' overall experiences.

This patient-centered protocol launched in select surgical departments in July 2019. It will eventually be rolled out throughout the UC San Diego Health system.

ERAS, which enhances our current surgery protocol, involves a multidisciplinary team that includes surgeons, anesthesiologists, nurses, pharmacists and dietitians. It provides state-of-the-art care to help patients navigate their surgical experience and reduce postoperative complications. The focus is on patient education and setting clear expectations for the patient and their family.

How ERAS Works

The evidence-based, highly effective surgical protocol has four phases:

  1. Preadmission phase: The health care team evaluates the patient’s medical condition, offers nutritional guidance, sets goals, and optimizes the patient’s medical status before surgery. Patients can read handouts and watch informational videos online.
  2. Preoperative phase: This is a continuation of the preadmission process. Patients can consume complex carbs until two hours before surgery instead of stopping the day before.
  3. During surgery: Anesthesia, medications and fluids are customized to the needs of each patient, with an emphasis on minimizing the use of opioids to help achieve effective pain control after surgery.
  4. After surgery: The process includes getting the patient up and walking early, having the patient start eating earlier, using non-sedating pain medicine and optimizing post-discharge follow-up.

The ERAS program is led by Dr. Jula Veerapong. For more information, contact DeLee Glasser, program coordinator.