Enhanced recovery after surgery in microvascular breast reconstruction

Niles J. Batdorf, Valerie Lemaine, Jenna K. Lovely, Karla V. Ballman, Whitney J. Goede, Jorys Martinez-Jorge, Andria L. Booth-Kowalczyk, Pamela L. Grubbs, Lisa D. Bungum, Michel Saint-Cyr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

72 Scopus citations


Background Enhanced recovery after surgery (ERAS) pathways have been shown in multiple surgical specialties to decrease hospital length of stay (LOS) after surgery, but they have not been described for patients undergoing microvascular breast reconstruction. Study design A standardized ERAS pathway was developed through multidisciplinary collaboration which addressed all phases of surgical care for patients undergoing free-flap breast reconstruction using an abdominal donor site. Two surgeons used the ERAS pathway, and results were compared with a historical cohort of the same 2 surgeons' patients treated by traditional care after surgery (TRAS). All patients underwent surgery between September 2010 and September 2013. The primary outcome measure was hospital LOS. Results A total of 100 patients were analyzed: 49 in the ERAS cohort, and 51 in the TRAS cohort, with a total of 181 flaps. Mean hospital LOS was shorter with ERAS than TRAS (3.9 vs 5.5 days; P < 0.001). Total inpatient postoperative opioid usage for the first 3 days, in oral morphine equivalents, was less for ERAS than TRAS (167.3 vs 574.3 mg; P < 0.001), a decrease of 71%, with similar pain scores for the 2 groups. Overall 30-day major complication rates were not significantly different between the groups (P = 0.21). Conclusions The initiation of an ERAS pathway significantly decreased hospital LOS in our study. The pathway also significantly decreased the amount of opioids used postoperatively by 71%, without a consequent increase in patient-reported pain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)395-402
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2015


  • Autologous breast reconstruction
  • DIEP flap
  • ERAS
  • Enhanced recovery after surgery
  • Microsurgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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