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The American Society of Breast Surgeons.
Annals of Surgical Oncology

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Enhanced Recovery Minimizes Opioid Use and Hospital Stay for Patients Undergoing Mastectomy with Reconstruction

Caroline J. McGugin MD, MSPH, Suzanne B. Coopey MD, Barbara L. Smith MD, PhD, Bridget N. Kelly BA, Carson L. Brown MS, Michele A. Gadd MD, Kevin S. Hughes MD, Michelle C. Specht MD
Breast Oncology
Volume 26, Issue 11 / October , 2019



This study examined the effects of an enhanced recovery program on inpatient opioid requirements and hospital length of stay (LOS) for mastectomy patients undergoing immediate reconstruction.


An enhanced recovery program for patients undergoing mastectomy with immediate tissue expander (TE) or implant reconstruction was evaluated by comparing a contemporary cohort of 611 patients in 2016–2018 with a historical cohort of 188 patients in 2010. Opioid use and LOS were compared over time and stratified by laterality, mastectomy type, axillary procedure, and reconstruction. Associations were assessed by uni- and multivariate analyses.


In 2010, 95.2% of patients required intravenous (IV) opioids, with a last dose 15.5 h after completion of surgery, compared with 68.7% of patients in 2016–2018, with a last dose 1.8 h after surgery (p < 0.001). Patients prescribed gabapentin postoperatively were less likely to require inpatient IV or oral opioids (p < 0.001). The mean LOS decreased from 37 h in 2010 to 27.5 h in 2016–2018 without an increase in the readmission rate (6.9% vs. 4.1%; p = 0.112). Patients were more likely to stay more than one night if they were older (p = 0.012), had undergone bilateral mastectomies (p < 0.001) or TE reconstruction (p = 0.012), and had surgery in 2010 compared with 2016–2018 (p < 0.001). Even after adjustment for LOS, IV opioid use remained significantly associated with year of surgery (p < 0.001).


Compared with 2010, patients undergoing mastectomy with TE or implant reconstruction in 2016–2018 required less inpatient opioids and had decreased LOS. The authors attribute this to an enhanced recovery program focused on preoperative counseling, non-opioid analgesics, and improved surgical efficiencies.

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