Opioid prescribing patterns following implementation of Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS) protocol in pediatric patients undergoing lower tract urologic reconstruction

Sarah Hecht, N. Valeska Halstead, Peter Boxley, Megan A. Brockel, Kyle O. Rove

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Background: With increasing awareness of the opioid epidemic, there is a push for providers to minimize opioid prescriptions. Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS) is a comprehensive multidisciplinary perioperative protocol that includes minimization of opioid analgesia in favor of non-opioid alternatives and regional analgesia. While ERAS protocols have consistently been shown to decrease inpatient opioid utilization, the impact on opioid prescribing practices and use after discharge in pediatric surgical patients is unclear. Objective: This study aims to assess the impact of an ERAS protocol on outpatient opioid prescription patterns after pediatric lower urinary tract reconstructive surgery. We hypothesize that implementation of an ERAS protocol leads to fewer outpatient opioid prescriptions as measured by number and total quantity of oral morphine milligram equivalents by body weight per patient. Methods: All patients who underwent bladder augmentation, creation of a continent catheterizable channel, bladder neck reconstruction or closure, or revision of prior reconstructive procedures at our tertiary care facility between 2011 and 2017 were reviewed. Patients were divided into pre-ERAS and ERAS cohorts based on whether surgery occurred before or after ERAS implementation. The Colorado Prescription Drug Monitoring Program was used to track filling of postoperative opioid prescriptions for patients covered by the database. Results: A total of 167 urologic reconstructive surgeries were analyzed, including 83 before ERAS and 84 after ERAS implementation. Patients in the ERAS cohort received and filled more outpatient opioid prescriptions at time of discharge (82.6% historical vs 93.9% ERAS, p = 0.015; 76.1% vs 57.9%, p = 0.012). There were no differences in prescription total morphine milligram equivalents normalized to body mass, total days supplied, or 90-day opioid prescription refill rates. Discussion: We found an unexpected increase in postoperative outpatient opioid prescriptions following implementation of an ERAS protocol for lower urinary tract reconstructive surgery. Possible reasons include worry about pain crisis at home in the setting of decreased hospital length of stay in the ERAS cohort or generalized upward drift in opioid prescribing patterns over time. ERAS protocols in other subspecialties reveal mixed findings but consistently suggest standardization of outpatient opioid prescribing patterns leads to a decrease in opioid prescriptions. Conclusions: Patients received more, not fewer, outpatient opioid prescriptions following major urologic reconstructive surgery after implementation of an ERAS protocol. Purposeful efforts should be made to standardize opioid prescriptions at discharge based on meaningful clinical criteria.[Formula

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)84.e1-84.e8
JournalJournal of Pediatric Urology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2021


  • Bladder augmentation
  • ERAS
  • Multimodal analgesia
  • Opioid epidemic
  • Perioperative care
  • Urologic reconstruction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Urology


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