This article was originally published in the Sioux City Journal.
For the past year, Drs. Lawrence Volz and Robert Anderson at Midlands Clinic in Dakota Dunes have been implementing a new protocol that significantly improves outcomes for patients undergoing colon surgery.
The protocol, Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS), is a multi-step program that starts several days before the operation and helps prepare patients for surgery. ERAS also involves multiple changes in the way these patients are managed from the operating room to the nursing unit after surgery until they are seen in follow-up in the surgeon’s office.
ERAS protocols are designed to achieve early recovery after surgical procedures by maintaining preoperative organ function and reducing the profound stress response following surgery. The key elements of ERAS protocols include preoperative counseling, optimization of nutrition, minimizing narcotics pain medication, early feeding and mobilization.
“These protocols have been going on in Europe for 10 years or longer,” said Dr. Lawrence Volz, a general surgeon at Midlands Clinic since June 2006. “By following the protocol, surgeons there found that patients experienced less complications, mortality is less, the length of stay in the hospital is less, and patient satisfaction is better. All outcomes are improved, saving hospitals money and improving the outcomes for patients.”
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