Opioid Requirements in Laparoscopic Colectomies: Do Enhanced Recovery After Surgery Protocols Make a Difference?

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American Surgeon


BACKGROUND: With the growing opioid epidemic and recent focus on the quantity of opioids prescribed at discharge after surgery, enhanced recovery pathways provide another tool to counteract this epidemic. The aim of this current study is to analyze the differences in opioid requirements and pain scores in the immediate postoperative period for patients who underwent laparoscopic colectomies before and after the implementation of enhanced recovery after surgery (ERAS) protocols.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: This study is a retrospective review of patients and was conducted at an academically affiliated tertiary care hospital. In patients undergoing elective laparoscopic colectomies before December 1, 2013-July 31, 2015 and after September 1, 2015-May 31, 2018, the implementation of enhanced recovery pathways was included. The primary end point was opioid consumption from the end of surgery until 48 hours after surgery. Secondary end points included pain scores, surgery length of time, and hospital length of stay after surgery.

RESULTS: A total of 242 patients (122 pre- and 120 postimplementation) were analyzed. Patient characteristics were similar between groups. Pain scores were higher in the preimplementation patients for postoperative day (POD) 0 scores (

DISCUSSION: Enhanced recovery after surgery protocols can reduce opioid requirements after elective laparoscopic colectomies without negatively affecting pain scores.

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