Reduction Of Postoperative Opioid Use After Elective Spine And Peripheral Nerve Surgery Using An Enhanced Recovery After Surgery Program

Abstract [from journal]

Objective: Enhanced recovery after surgery (ERAS) pathways have previously been shown to be feasible and safe in elective spinal procedures. As publications on ERAS pathways have recently emerged in elective neurosurgery, long-term outcomes are limited. We report on our 18-month experience with an ERAS pathway in elective spinal surgery.

Methods: A historical cohort of 149 consecutive patients was identified as the control group, and 1,141 patients were prospectively enrolled in an ERAS protocol. The primary outcome was the need for opioid use one month postoperation. Secondary outcomes were opioid and nonopioid consumption on postoperative day (POD) 1, opioid use at three and six months postoperation, inpatient pain scores, patient satisfaction scores, postoperative Foley catheter use, mobilization/ambulation on POD0-1, length of stay, complications, and intensive care unit admissions.

Results: There was significant reduction in use of opioids at one, three, and six months postoperation (38.6% vs 70.5%, P < 0.001, 36.5% vs 70.9%, P < 0.001, and 23.6% vs 51.9%, P = 0.008) respectively. Both groups had similar surgical procedures and demographics. PCA use was nearly eliminated in the ERAS group (1.4% vs 61.6%, P < 0.001). ERAS patients mobilized faster on POD0 compared with control (63.5% vs 20.7%, P < 0.001). Fewer patients in the ERAS group required postoperative catheterization (40.7% vs 32.7%, P < 0.001). The ERAS group also had decreased length of stay (3.4 vs 3.9 days, P = 0.020).

Conclusions: ERAS protocols for all elective spine and peripheral nerve procedures are both possible and effective. This standardized approach to patient care decreases opioid usage, eliminates the use of PCAs, mobilizes patients faster, and reduces length of stay.