Purpose: We have shown previously that a preoperative paravertebral nerve block is associated with improved postoperative recovery in microvascular breast reconstruction. The purpose of this study was to compare the outcomes of a complete enhanced recovery after surgery (ERAS) protocol with complete regional anesthesia coverage to our traditional care with paravertebral block. Patients and methods: This was a retrospective cohort study of 83 patients who underwent autologous breast reconstruction by T.M.M. between May 2014 and February 2018 at a tertiary academic center. Patients in the ERAS group were additionally administered acetaminophen, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), gabapentin, a transversus abdominis plane block (liposomal or plain bupivacaine), and primarily oral opioids postoperatively. The patients were mobilized earlier with more rapid diet progression. All patients received a preoperative paravertebral block. Results: Forty-four patients in the ERAS cohort were compared with 39 retrospective controls. The 2 groups were similar with respect to demographics and comorbidities. The ERAS cohort required significantly less opioids (291 vs 707 mg oral morphine equivalent, P <.0001) with unchanged postoperative pain scores and a shorter time to oral only opioid use (16.0 vs 78.2 hours, P <.0001). Median length of stay (3.20 vs 4.62, P <.0001) and time to independent ambulation (1.86 vs 2.88, P <.0001) were also significantly decreased in the ERAS cohort. Liposomal bupivacaine use did not significantly affect the results (P ⩾.2). Conclusions: Implementation of a robust enhanced recovery protocol with complete regional anesthesia coverage was associated with significantly decreased opioid use despite unchanged pain scores, with improved markers of recovery including length of stay, time to oral only narcotics, and time to independent ambulation.
- Microvascular breast reconstruction
- enhanced recovery
- multimodal analgesia