Prehabilitation programs and ERAS protocols in gynecological oncology: a comprehensive review

Arch Gynecol Obstet. 2020 Feb;301(2):315-326. doi: 10.1007/s00404-019-05321-7. Epub 2019 Oct 15.


Purpose: The "Enhanced recovery after surgery" (ERAS) concept has been continuously developed for many surgical disciplines. Shorter length of stay (LOS) and associated cost savings have been achieved without an increase in the complication or readmission rate. Current guidelines helped to support an increasing standardisation of care. One innovation of the recently published update is the proposal to integrate prehabilitation (PREHAB) into the ERAS concept. On this basis, the authors provide an overview of the current data on ERAS concepts in gynecological oncology and review the evidence of prehabilitation concepts.

Methods: Systematic literature review of all comparative studies on ERAS concepts in gynecological oncology and prehabilitation undergoing abdominal cancer surgery was performed using the standard databases. Outcomes of interest included prehabilitation program composition (exercise, nutritional, and psychological interventions), duration and outcome measures used to determine impact of prehabilitation vs. standard care.

Results: Five studies reported on PREHAB programs in gynecology (three RCTs, one study protocol, one pilot study). There is no trial evaluating a pathway for patients with extensive ovarian or cervical cancer. Study protocols were heterogenous, but showed improvements in both physical and psychological parameters. ERAS protocols in ovarian cancer patients were investigated in 12 observational studies, mostly single center and only 1 RCT, in 4 studies patients with ovarian cancer or patients. Most studies showed improvement in complication rate and shorter LOS.

Discussion: PREHAB programs seem feasible in abdominal cancer surgery and may improve surgical outcome. However, there is no prospective trial in gynecological oncology so far. Furthermore, there is no concept combining ERAS and PREHAB interventions. Therefore, the authors encourage the further development of both by describing in a novel treatment algorithm.

Keywords: ERAS; Gynecological oncology; Ovarian cancer; Prehabilitation; Surgery.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Enhanced Recovery After Surgery*
  • Female
  • Genital Neoplasms, Female / surgery*
  • Gynecologic Surgical Procedures / methods*
  • Gynecology / standards
  • Humans
  • Length of Stay
  • Middle Aged
  • Perioperative Care / methods*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Postoperative Care / methods*
  • Postoperative Complications / etiology
  • Postoperative Period
  • Preoperative Care / methods
  • Recovery of Function*
  • Treatment Outcome