Purpose: This study compared outcomes of a fast-track postoperative program implemented for patients undergoing laparoscopic colorectal surgery on 2 surgical units to patients receiving traditional postoperative care following laparoscopic colorectal surgery prior to implementation of the fast-track program.
Aims: The primary aim was to determine if there was a significant difference in length of stay and 30-day readmission rates between the 2 groups. The secondary aim was to examine whether patients on the fast-track program were able to successfully tolerate early diet, early ambulation, and minimal use of drains.
Setting: The study was conducted at a large Midwestern hospital.
Method: A retrospective medical record review was done on 100 patients who underwent laparoscopic colorectal surgery on the fast-track program for data pertaining to the research questions. Additionally, a medical record review was done for comparison on 100 matched controls based on age, sex, surgeon, and surgical procedure who received traditional postoperative care following laparoscopic colorectal surgery.
Findings: A statistical significant difference of 1 day was found between patients receiving traditional care and patients on the fast-track program. Readmission rates between the 2 groups were not statistically significantly different.
Conclusion: : Overall, patients undergoing laparoscopic colorectal surgery on a fast-track program discharged 1 day sooner than patients on traditional recovery programs. Patients successfully followed the fast-track program.
Implications: Fast-track programs in colorectal surgery reduce length of stay and could be considered for other surgical populations.