State of the art of enhanced recovery after surgery (ERAS) protocols in esophagogastric cancer surgery: the Western experience

Updates Surg. 2023 Feb;75(2):373-382. doi: 10.1007/s13304-022-01311-8. Epub 2022 Jun 21.


Enhanced recovery after surgery (ERAS) programs provide a framework to standardize care processes and improve outcomes. The results of this multimodal and multidisciplinary approach based on actions focused on reducing physiological surgical stress in the preoperative, intraoperative, and postoperative periods are beneficial in reducing morbidity and hospital stay, without increasing readmissions across different surgical settings. The implementation of ERAS in resection procedures of esophageal and gastric cancer has been challenging due to the complexity of these surgical techniques and the high risk of complications. Despite the limited evidence of ERAS in esophagectomy operations, systematic reviews and meta-analysis have confirmed a reduction of pulmonary complications and hospital stay without increasing readmissions. In gastrectomy operations, the implementation of ERAS reduces the use of nasogastric tubes and intraabdominal drains, facilitates early diet, and reduces the length of hospital stay, without increasing complications. There is, however, wide heterogeneity and absence of standardization in the number and definition of the ERAS components. The development of ERAS consensus guidelines including procedure-specific components may reduce this variability. Regardless growing evidence of the effectiveness of ERAS, the adherence rate is still low. The commitment of the multidisciplinary team and leadership is critical in the application and refinement of ERAS protocols in parallel with periodic audits. Pre- and post-habilitation methods are emerging concepts to be incorporated in ERAS protocols.

Keywords: Adherence; Enhanced recovery after surgery; Esophagectomy; Gastrectomy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Enhanced Recovery After Surgery*
  • Esophageal Neoplasms* / surgery
  • Humans
  • Length of Stay
  • Meta-Analysis as Topic
  • Perioperative Care / methods
  • Postoperative Complications / prevention & control
  • Stomach Neoplasms* / surgery