4 Steps to Heal Faster After Surgery

Originally published May 15, 2023

Last updated May 28, 2024

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A digital graphic of interconnected hubs with "Lifestyle Changes," "Nutritional Boost," "Comfort and Safety" and "Recovery Guidance" listed in them

Keck Medicine of USC has implemented a set of protocols, known as Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (or ERAS), to help surgical patients.

These protocols known have been proven to reduce the length of hospital stays and the need for opioid medications. Michael Kim, DO, an anesthesiologist at Keck Medicine of USC, explained the four steps of ERAS and how care teams deliver them.

Several Weeks Before Surgery: Lifestyle Changes

Patients learn about the ERAS framework prior to surgery, and they’re encouraged by their Keck Medicine care team to prepare for the big day with proactive measures.

These include physical activity, eating healthfully, avoiding alcohol and cigarettes, and creating an at-home plan for family and friends to help out during recovery.

24 Hours Before Surgery: Nutritional Boost

Patients are not supposed to eat solid foods the night before surgery.

Keck Medicine provides hydrating fluids and a carbohydrate-loading beverage on the day of the event to help build strength. The drink helps prepare your body for the stress of surgery.

During Surgery: Comfort and Safety

Care teams are trained to deliver the highest level of comfort during and after surgery.

An anesthesiologist may recommend a nerve block to numb the affected area, and surgeons will also use the smallest incisions possible.

Both steps can help reduce post-surgical pain.

After Surgery: Recovery Guidance

ERAS protocol recommends non-opioid medications and breathing exercises for pain management.

Keck Medicine care teams work to mobilize patients as early as possible and offer nutritional guidance.

Lastly, patients receive a step-by-step action plan for recovering safely at home.

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Erin Laviola
Erin Laviola is a freelance writer for Keck Medicine of USC.

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USC Health Magazine 2024 Issue #1

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