How Stony Brook Speeds Recovery After Surgery

Bennett Guerrero Elliott Bennett-Guerrero, MD
Medical Director
Perioperative Quality and Patient Safety
Singh Sunitha M. Singh, MD, CPHQ
Program Coordinator
Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS)

Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS) is a comprehensive care approach that incorporates best practices when you’re undergoing surgery. This means using the most up-to-date information to prepare you for surgery, improve your recovery and get you back to your daily routines sooner. Dr. Elliott Bennett-Guerrero and Dr. Sunitha Singh explain how Stony Brook optimizes the care of surgical patients before, during and after your procedure.

Why is ERAS important for patients?
The ERAS collaborative care approach results in higher patient satisfaction, shorter hospital stays and fewer readmissions. It is a multidisciplinary process to improving patient care throughout the surgical period: before, during and immediately after your surgery. The goal is to advance your healing and recovery, such as decreasing the risk of infection and boosting gastrointestinal function.

Is ERAS a new approach to surgical care?
ERAS is a new approach to care at many hospitals. But Stony Brook has the most comprehensive ERAS programs on Long Island to provide care for 10 different surgeries, and we’re continuously adding more. We focus on your treatment strategy right from your first surgeon’s visit, during all of your pre-operative services and through your discharge.

What is the typical ERAS treatment plan?
At Stony Brook we’re looking at every single component to improve and develop our treatment plans. What’s unique about ERAS is that we’re using a combination of best practices for patient care like pain relief medication, fluids and avoiding the use of feeding tubes. We also try to get you up and moving quickly because that will help you to regain your strength and gut function. All of these practices are built into every ERAS program.

How does ERAS improve patient-physician communication?
Patients often get frustrated by the feeling that their doctors don’t talk to each other. At Stony Brook, ERAS breaks down those barriers between your surgeon, anesthesiologist and nurses to get them in the same room to talk about the best strategies to streamline your care.

Stony Brook’s ERAS program has 10 surgical ERAS pathways. Is there an overall approach regardless of the type of surgery?
Our goal is to make sure you have the best outcome after surgery. That can mean preparing you for surgery by recommending nutrition, exercise and smoking cessation goals. Most of the pathways incorporate keeping you well hydrated before surgery. We also discuss your expectations around pain management and other aspects of care encompassing the surgical process.

That means:

  • forming a partnership with your healthcare team
  • telling you how to prepare your home for discharge
  • explaining what you can expect before surgery
  • making sure you know the members of your care team
  • clarifying what will happen in the operating room
  • highlighting what you can expect during recovery in the hospital and at home
  • providing you support so you know when and who to call for help

Most of this information is included in an individualized patient diary we provide to you. Some diaries “map” the process using checklists and pictures.

What is a patient diary?
Regardless of your type of surgery, you will receive an interactive diary that lays out what you can do before surgery, what to expect when you arrive at Stony Brook University Hospital, what to anticipate while you are here, and how we are going to manage your pain. Some diaries incorporate charts to help you set expectations for exercise, breathing, taking medications or managing drains. Each one of our treatment plans is specific to the surgery you are having and given to you to take home when you first decide you are going to have the procedure. Because most of the information you need is in one booklet, it makes it easier for you and your caregivers to look over all the necessary information, including where to get your questions answered.

10 Procedures with ERAS Surgical Pathways Currently Available at Stony Brook:


  • Joint replacement (hip/knee)
  • Colorectal
  • Lumbar fusion
  • Surgical oncology (pancreas/liver)
  • Cystectomy
  • Bariatric
  • Gynecology
  • Cesarean section

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