An “Enhanced Recovery After Surgery” (ERAS) protocol developed by Penn Medicine for patients undergoing spinal and peripheral nerve surgery significantly reduces opioid use. A new study published in the Journal of Neurosurgery: Spine shows that when an ERAS protocol was employed—which optimizes patients’ surgical care before, during, and after surgery, including patient education, post-operative medications, and recovery plans—fewer patients need pain medications one month after surgery.
Nearly 75 percent of patients at Penn Medicine who undergo spinal surgeries are opioid naïve—patients who are not chronically taking opioids on a daily basis—putting them at an increased risk for dependency following surgery. Previous studies have also shown that up to 7 percent of all patients who undergo spinal surgeries continue to take opioids one year after surgery. Part of the ERAS protocol at Penn includes a personalized, safe, and effective pain management plan to help prevent opioid dependency, which has rapidly become a public health crisis in the United States.
“ERAS protocols engage each aspect of the patient’s surgical journey to improve clinical outcomes and optimize a safe recovery,” says lead author and principal investigator Zarina S. Ali, an assistant professor of neurosurgery and neurosurgical ERAS physician lead at the Perelman School of Medicine. “This novel approach allows a framework for addressing pain management in a responsible and effective manner while dramatically reducing opioid use during and after surgery.”
Read more at Penn Medicine News.