Successful use of an enhanced recovery after surgery (ERAS) pathway to improve outcomes following the Nuss procedure for pectus excavatum

Kristin Wharton, Young Chun, Joann Hunsberger, Eric Jelin, Alejandro Garcia, Dylan Stewart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Purpose: Pectus excavatum is a common chest wall deformity amenable to surgical correction, most commonly by a technique known as the Nuss Procedure. The surgery is associated with significant postoperative pain and lengthy hospital stays. We hypothesized that a standardized enhanced recovery after surgery (ERAS) pathway would result in significantly reduced length of stay (LOS) and reduced levels of postoperative pain without an increase in readmissions or emergency department (ED) visits. Methods: We instituted a pectus excavatum ERAS program at a high-volume academic center. Our ERAS protocol standardized perioperative exercise and pharmacologic regimens, pre- and post-operative education, and early return to activity. We conducted a retrospective review of all patients undergoing the Nuss procedure from 2015 to 2018. ERAS was implemented at the mid-point of the study period, and pre- and post-protocol patients were compared in our analysis. The primary outcome measure was LOS. The secondary outcomes included pain scores, incidence of urinary retention, and readmissions or ED visits. Results: One hundred nine patients were included in this study (51 patients pre-ERAS and 58 post-ERAS). The average length of hospitalization prior to implementation of ERAS was 3.49 and after the implementation 2.90 (p = 0.0007). The implementation of ERAS showed a trend of decreasing readmissions and emergency department visits, but this did not reach statistical significance. There was a statistically significant decrease in both requirement for urinary catheter placement and pain scores on postoperative day 0. Conclusions: Implementation of ERAS for the Nuss procedure leads to a significant reduction in LOS, early pain scores, and urinary catheter usage, without an increase in post-operative ED visits and hospital readmissions. An ERAS protocol should be utilized in this patient population. Type of study: Retrospective comparative study. Type of evidence: Level III.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1065-1071
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of pediatric surgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2020


  • Enhanced recovery after surgery (ERAS)
  • Length of stay
  • Nuss procedure
  • Pectus excavatum

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


Dive into the research topics of 'Successful use of an enhanced recovery after surgery (ERAS) pathway to improve outcomes following the Nuss procedure for pectus excavatum'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this