Background: Although Enhanced Recovery after Surgery (ERAS)pathways are becoming the standard of care in microvascular breast reconstruction, evidence supporting their use is limited or based on small sample sizes. We hypothesized that improvements in postoperative outcomes would persist when examining the largest cohort of patients undergoing abdominal-based microvascular breast reconstruction, to date. Materials and methods: Data were retrospectively reviewed for 276 consecutive patients who underwent abdominal-based free flap breast reconstruction before and after ERAS implementation (pre-ERAS, n = 138 patients; post-ERAS, n = 138 patients). Primary outcomes were postoperative opioid use measured in oral morphine equivalents (OMEs), median hospital length of stay (LOS)in days, and incidence of postoperative complications. Results: Postoperative opioid requirements were significantly lower in the post-ERAS cohort compared with the pre-ERAS cohort (57.3 OME, [interquartile range 20.0-115.5]versus 297.3 OME [interquartile range 138.6-437.7], P < 0.0001). There was no significant difference in hospital LOS when controlling for variables that differed between the groups. In addition, there were no differences in the rate of postoperative complications, return to operating room, or readmission after ERAS pathway implementation. Conclusions: ERAS improves specific aspects of recovery for patients undergoing microvascular breast reconstruction, most notably postoperative opioid use. Patient selection and a shift toward less invasive procedures may explain a nonsignificant impact on hospital LOS.
- Breast reconstruction
- Enhanced Recovery after Surgery
- Fast-track surgery
- Microvascular breast reconstruction