Enhanced recovery programs (ERPs) are evidence-based protocols designed to improve functional rehabilitation after surgery. ERPs have gained widespread acceptance in many surgical disciplines, and their use leads to significant improvements in patient outcomes while reducing hospital length of stay (LOS). There remains a paucity of data on the use of ERPs in benign gynecologic surgery. The purpose of this review was to evaluate current literature on the use of ERP concepts in benign gynecologic surgery.
A systematic search of PubMed, CINAHL, Web of Science, and the Cochrane databases was conducted, cross-referencing search terms related to gynecologic surgery and ERP concepts. The search was limited to publications available in English. Studies published prior to 2000, and those involving gynecologic oncology, nonadult patients, and outpatient surgery were excluded.
Nine studies were included in the analysis. Due to heterogeneity of the included studies, no statistical pooling was possible and comparison between studies was limited to their respective themes. Primary study outcomes included LOS, postoperative nausea and vomiting (PONV), pain management, patient satisfaction, and hospital costs. Five studies investigated ERPs, two evaluated measures to improve PONV, and four focused on unique aspects of pain management. Across the studies, ERPs that focused on the patients' basic symptoms and recovery were found to have equal, if not better, outcomes than standard practice.
This integrative review supports the implementation of ERPs in benign gynecologic surgery. The results showed that the use of ERPs decreased LOS, improved pain scores, and reduced hospital costs, without increasing perioperative complications. We suggest additional randomized controlled trials of ERP concepts in benign gynecologic surgery to support their more widespread use and application.