With surgical incisions becoming smaller and techniques and equipment getting refined, surgeons no longer need to hospitalise patients for long. To speed up patient recovery, hospitals here are emulating medical facilities abroad and implementing a programme called Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS).
“The programme focuses on making sure patients are active participants in their own recovery process,” says surgical gastroenterologist Dr Patta Radhakrishna of SIMS Hospitals. “It is customised for patients based on medical history, their medication type and the type of surgery required.”
ERAS encompasses preoperative assessment to reduce the stress of operation and a structured postoperative approach, he says.
“Doctors earlier made patients starve before a surgery and many tubes would be inserted into them during and after the procedure,” Radhakrishna says. “Now with the use of modern drugs, we eliminate all of this and that improves outcomes.”
A study published this year in Journal of the American College of Surgeons said following ERAS cuts hospital stays by more than two days, decreases complications by 17% and increases patient satisfaction with pain control by 55%.
Dr Venkatesh Munikrishnan, a colorectal surgeon at Apollo Hospitals, says the key elements of ERAS protocols include preoperative counselling, optimised nutrition, standardised analgesic and anaesthetic regimens and early ‘mobilisation’, with doctors making patients walk at the earliest after the procedure so the healing process accelerates.
“The objective of ERAS is to minimise metabolic impact and enhance the healing process,” he says. “It reduces stress levels for patients before, during and after surgery so they recover at a faster pace.” he said.