Insights To Help Get You Back To Your Life.

About The Author

Share This Post

Enter a New Era in Spine Surgery With Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS)

Authored by Dr. Ehsan Jazini, MD. September 15, 2020

In a fast-paced world where every moment counts, a faster surgery recovery time is becoming necessary. Post-surgery, many patients are itching to get back to their lives without pain and medication, and with this, in mind, we are on the forefront developing a 21st-century patient-centered approach to the comprehensive spine surgery experience. These stages include pre-hospital, preoperative, intraoperative (during surgery), and postoperative, and the return home. 

The Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS®) is a series of evidence-based care pathways helping evolve spine surgery recovery, including better pain control, eliminating the need for IV pain medications, and reducing opioids. These advancements allow your medical team to use the best data-driven practices to help patients mobilize after surgery, shorten hospital stays, and recover faster. 

After conducting extensive research, we presented our research outcomes at the North American Spine Society (NASS) international meeting of spine surgeons from around the world. Our findings proved that with ERAS protocols implemented, we were able to reduce the number of painkillers (including pain pump) given to patients in the hospital as well as reduce hospital stays. Patients also were up on their feet and walking sooner, mobilizing their recovery right in the hospital. 

What is Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS)?

ERAS® is an innovative set of protocols designed to help educate patients, prepare them for surgery, and allow them to have a speedy recovery from spine surgery so that they can resume their life activities expeditiously. We at the Virginia Spine Institute, in collaboration with Reston Hospital Center, have developed a tailored program for patients undergoing spine surgery. Preparing for and undergoing spine surgery is analogous to training, completing, and recovering from a marathon. Preparing, or training, for a marathon, a runner must undergo dedicated fitness training, nutrition program, and mental preparedness prior to a successful completion of a run. ERAS® is meant to be a similar “training program” that is used before, during, and after spine surgery. This comprehensive approach, looking at the complete surgical picture, aids in effectively and efficiently taking the patient through

Before undergoing spine surgery, preparation must be done to ensure that the patient’s body is properly prepared – for example, proper nutrition and avoiding detrimental habits such as smoking or excessive drinking. As part of this preparation, educating patients on their expectations regarding the surgery and their recovery is critical. On the morning of the surgery, the patient is proactively given a cocktail of medications that help support the nerve and muscle function, minimizing the need of pain medications. In conjunction with our anesthesiologists, we also use local anesthetics to help reduce the need for pain medications during surgery, as well as after surgery. 

After surgery, In the recovery unit, patients are mobilized within two hours of surgery in order to start the function of their muscles and joints, which has been shown to help reduce the need for pain medications post-surgery. The patients are then placed on both long- and short-acting pain medications to help avoid the acute crisis of uncontrolled pain, reducing the risk of delayed recovery. Using this regimen, we have been able to avoid the use of Patient Controlled Analgesic (PCA) pumps, often referred to as “pain pumps”, which were found to be ineffective in controlling post-surgical pain control, even requiring more pain medications to be used when compared to the ERAS® protocol.

What are the Benefits of Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS®)? 

So what does all of this mean for our patients? Essentially we are providing patients with safer, faster, and more efficient recovery post-surgery. ERAS® presents a healthier and safer way to perform surgery for our patients with less medications needed for pain management. The combination of treatment before, during, and after is what makes ERAS® innovative and effective.

The Virginia Spine Institute, in collaboration with the National Spine Health Foundation, has made great strides in innovation and research with regards to enhancing our patients’ recovery after spine surgery. We evaluated patient outcomes, pre-ERAS, and ERAS,  as well as compared patients with smaller surgeries and complex deformity surgeries. We were able to demonstrate a significant decrease in pain medication needs and usage in patients after spine surgery, ultimately getting them up and moving faster and translated to shorten hospital stays, getting our patients back to their lives quicker! 

If you’re considering spine surgery, ask your spine surgeon about the benefits of utilizing ERAS® protocols to help you recover faster, by minimizing the impact of surgery on your body.

Dr. Ehsan Jazini is a board certified spine surgeon at Virginia Spine Institute. He has been the first in the nation, and in the world, to perform advanced surgical techniques in cervical disc replacement, augmented reality (AR) spine surgery, and robotic spine surgery. Dr. Jazini was the first in the world to perform Augmented Reality guided personalized spine implant surgery using artificial intelligence. As a leading published author in the field of spine surgery, Dr. Jazini was selected as the Editor in Chief of The Spine Health Journal for the National Spine Health Foundation. Learn more about Dr. Jazini.

Schedule Your Consult


About The Author

Dr. Ehsan Jazini, MD

Share This Post

Other videos on this topic

Hear Why Patients Chose Virginia Spine Institute to Get Their Life Back

As Seen On Fox 5’s ‘Good Morning DC’: VSI Patient Shares Why She Made Her Spine Health a Priority

The Today Show Features Patient Who Found Relief to Chronic Pain at Virginia Spine Institute

As Seen on ABC News: Virginia Spine Institute Among 1st in the World to Perform Augmented Reality Surgery

Dr. Christopher Good Presents Exciting Results of Robotic-Guided Spine Surgery Study

The Risks of Waiting to Get Spine Treatment

Robotics & Technology in Spine Surgery

What is a Lumbar Spinal Fusion?

What is Flatback Syndrome?

Adult Scoliosis Treatments

Advances in Motion-Preserving Surgery for Neck Pain and Cervical Spine Conditions

Local DVM: Dr. Good Performs Most Advanced Robotic Spine Surgery

NBC 4: Dr. Good Performs Most Advanced Robotic Spine Surgery

Fox 5 News: Dr. Good Performs Most Advanced Robotic Spine Surgery

Endoscopic Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery

Advances in Spine Surgery

What To Expect After Spine Surgery

What To Expect After Spine Surgery

3 Options for Your Artificial Disc Replacement

Spinal Champion Barbara’s Scoliosis Insight

Spinal Champion, Rita

Spinal Champion Omar’s Medical Diagnosis & Treatment

Enhanced Recovery after Spine Surgery (ERAS)

Dr. Schuler Performs First M6-C™ Artificial Cervical Disc Replacement in DC-Metro

Surgical Scoliosis Treatments

The Spine Surgery that Helped Tiger Woods Get Back on the Golf Course

What is an Artificial Disc Replacement?

What To Bring To The Hospital Before Surgery

When Is Spinal Surgery Necessary For Back or Neck Pain?

When You Should See a Specialist for Back or Neck Pain

When To Call Your Doctor After Surgery

When to Have an Artificial Disc Replacement

WUSA9 Feature of Robotic Technology