Improved analgesia and reduced post-operative nausea and vomiting after implementation of an enhanced recovery after surgery (ERAS) pathway for total mastectomy

BMC Anesthesiol. 2018 Apr 16;18(1):41. doi: 10.1186/s12871-018-0505-9.


Background: Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS) pathways have been shown in multiple surgical disciplines to improve outcomes, including reduced opioid consumption, length of stay, and post-operative nausea and vomiting (PONV). However, very few studies describe the application of ERAS to breast surgery and even fewer describe ERAS for outpatient surgery. We describe the implementation and efficacy of an Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS) pathway for total skin-sparing mastectomy with immediate reconstruction in an outpatient setting.

Methods: We implemented an evidence-based, multimodal ERAS pathway for all patients undergoing total skin-sparing mastectomy surgery with immediate reconstruction at a single 23-h stay surgery center. Highlights of the ERAS pathway included: preoperative acetaminophen, gabapentin, and scopolamine; regional anesthesia for the breast (Pectoral blocks type 1 and 2 or paravertebral block); and intraoperative dexamethasone and ondansetron. This retrospective study included all American Society of Anesthesiology (ASA) Class 1-3 patients undergoing total skin-sparing mastectomy surgery with immediate reconstruction between July 2013 and April 2016. We compared 96 patients who were in the ERAS pathway (ERAS group) to a retrospective cohort of 276 patients (Pre group). The primary outcome was total perioperative opioid consumption. Secondary outcomes were highest postoperative pain scores, incidence of PONV, and length of stay.

Results: Patients in the ERAS group had significantly lower total perioperative opioid consumption compared to the Pre group (mean (SD): 111.4 mg (46.0) vs. 163.8 mg (73.2) oral morphine equivalents, p < 0.001). Patients in the ERAS group also had a lower incidence of PONV (28% vs. 50%, p < 0.001). Patients in the ERAS group reported less pain in the recovery room, with a two-point decrease in highest pain score (median [interquartile range (IQR)]: 4 [2,6] in ERAS group vs. 6 [4,7] in Pre group, p < 0.001). There was no clinically significant difference in length of stay (median [IQR]: 1144 min [992, 1259] in ERAS group vs. 1188 [1058, 1344] in Pre group, p = 0.006).

Conclusion: Implementation of an ERAS pathway for total skin-sparing mastectomy with reconstruction that incorporates regional anesthesia is feasible in a 23-h-stay hospital. Patients in the ERAS pathway had improved post-operative analgesia and reduced post-operative nausea and vomiting.

Keywords: Breast surgery; ERAS pathway; Fast-track surgery; Pec blocks; Total mastectomy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acetaminophen / therapeutic use
  • Analgesia / methods*
  • Analgesics / therapeutic use
  • Analgesics, Non-Narcotic / therapeutic use
  • Anesthesia, Conduction / methods
  • Antiemetics / therapeutic use
  • Dexamethasone / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • Gabapentin / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Intraoperative Care / methods*
  • Length of Stay / statistics & numerical data
  • Mastectomy, Simple*
  • Middle Aged
  • Ondansetron / therapeutic use
  • Pain Management / methods*
  • Postoperative Nausea and Vomiting / prevention & control*
  • Preoperative Care / methods*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Scopolamine / therapeutic use


  • Analgesics
  • Analgesics, Non-Narcotic
  • Antiemetics
  • Acetaminophen
  • Ondansetron
  • Gabapentin
  • Dexamethasone
  • Scopolamine