Consensus statement for perioperative care in lumbar spinal fusion: Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS®) Society recommendations

Spine J. 2021 May;21(5):729-752. doi: 10.1016/j.spinee.2021.01.001. Epub 2021 Jan 12.


Background: Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS) evidence-based protocols for perioperative care have led to improvements in outcomes in numerous surgical areas, through multimodal optimization of patient pathway, reduction of complications, improved patient experience and reduction in the length of stay. ERAS represent a relatively new paradigm in spine surgery.

Purpose: This multidisciplinary consensus review summarizes the literature and proposes recommendations for the perioperative care of patients undergoing lumbar fusion surgery with an ERAS program.

Study design: This is a review article.

Methods: Under the impetus of the ERAS® society, a multidisciplinary guideline development group was constituted by bringing together international experts involved in the practice of ERAS and spine surgery. This group identified 22 ERAS items for lumbar fusion. A systematic search in the English language was performed in MEDLINE, Embase, and Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials. Systematic reviews, randomized controlled trials, and cohort studies were included, and the evidence was graded according to the Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development, and Evaluation (GRADE) system. Consensus recommendation was reached by the group after a critical appraisal of the literature.

Results: Two hundred fifty-six articles were included to develop the consensus statements for 22 ERAS items; one ERAS item (prehabilitation) was excluded from the final summary due to very poor quality and conflicting evidence in lumbar spinal fusion. From these remaining 21 ERAS items, 28 recommendations were included. All recommendations on ERAS protocol items are based on the best available evidence. These included nine preoperative, eleven intraoperative, and six postoperative recommendations. They span topics from preoperative patient education and nutritional evaluation, intraoperative anesthetic and surgical techniques, and postoperative multimodal analgesic strategies. The level of evidence for the use of each recommendation is presented.

Conclusion: Based on the best evidence available for each ERAS item within the multidisciplinary perioperative care pathways, the ERAS® Society presents this comprehensive consensus review for perioperative care in lumbar fusion.

Keywords: Degenerative spine disease; ERAS; Enhanced recovery after surgery; Evidence-based recommendations; Fast-track surgery; Lumbar fusion; Minimally invasive spine surgery; Perioperative care; Spine surgery.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Consensus
  • Enhanced Recovery After Surgery*
  • Humans
  • Perioperative Care
  • Preoperative Care
  • Spinal Fusion* / adverse effects