Learning About Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS): Getting Ready for Surgery

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What is it?

Enhanced recovery after surgery (ERAS) is a set of guidelines. Hospitals and surgery centers use it help you prepare for surgery, control pain, shorten your stay, and recover sooner. Before surgery, you'll eat healthy food and drink enough fluids. Afterward, you'll eat and get out of bed as soon as possible.

What steps can you take?

Your doctor will give you instructions for you to follow before your surgery. They may include:

  • Eat healthy foods in the weeks leading up to your surgery. This includes a wide range of foods like grains, vegetables, fruits, and protein, such as lean meat and beans. Your doctor will tell you how long before surgery to stop eating.
  • Try to get more exercise in the weeks before your surgery. Even a little walking can help. The better shape you are in, the sooner you are likely to recover.
  • Drink plenty of liquids. Your doctor may prescribe that you have a special sugary drink 2 to 3 hours before your surgery. This will give your body added energy. Your doctor will tell you when you should stop drinking liquids.
  • Your doctor will also tell you if you should stop taking any medicines.
  • Stop or cut down on your use of alcohol.
  • Don't smoke. Smoking can delay recovery. Stop smoking for at least a month before surgery. If you need help quitting, talk to your doctor about stop-smoking programs and medicines. These can increase your chances of quitting for good.

The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.