Enhanced recovery after surgery for primary hip and knee arthroplasty: a review of the evidence

Br J Anaesth. 2016 Dec;117(suppl 3):iii62-iii72. doi: 10.1093/bja/aew362.


Enhanced recovery after surgery (ERAS) protocols produce significant clinical and economic benefits in a range of surgical subspecialties. There is a long tradition of applying clinical pathways to the perioperative care of joint arthroplasty patients. Enhanced recovery after surgery represents the next step in the evolution of standardized care. To date, reports of full ERAS pathways for hip or knee arthroplasty are lacking. In this narrative review, we present the evidence base that can be usefully applied to constructing ERAS pathways for hip or knee arthroplasty. The history and rationale for applying ERAS to joint arthroplasty are explained. Evidence demonstrates improved outcomes after joint arthroplasty when a standardized approach to care is implemented. The efficacy of individual ERAS components in hip or knee replacement is considered, including preoperative education, intraoperative anaesthetic techniques, postoperative analgesia, and early mobilization after joint arthroplasty. Interventions lacking high-quality evidence are identified, together with recommendations for future research. Based on currently available evidence, we present a model ERAS pathway that can be applied to perioperative care of patients undergoing hip or knee arthroplasty.

Keywords: arthroplasty; hip; knee; replacement.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anesthesia Recovery Period*
  • Arthroplasty, Replacement, Hip / methods*
  • Arthroplasty, Replacement, Knee / methods*
  • Humans
  • Length of Stay
  • Perioperative Care
  • Postoperative Care / methods*
  • Recovery of Function