4 Steps to Faster Recovery from Colon Surgery: A Conversation with Daniel Latta, MD

March 16th, 2022  Topics: Surgery

When you need surgery for conditions like diverticulitis, Crohn’s disease or colon cancer, it’s important to know what will happen on the day of surgery. But just as important are the things that happen before and after your procedure — and the team that will stand by your side at every step.

People receiving colorectal surgery at Grand View Health now benefit from a team approach, called Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS). “It’s a new way of caring for you around the time of your surgery to help you feel better faster,” says board-certified colorectal surgeon Daniel Latta, MD, with Grand View Health Surgery.

And it’s already showing results. “Using ERAS, our average length of patient stay after colorectal surgery is 4.0 days, which is less than the national average of more than a week,” Dr. Latta says.

The four-step ERAS process includes:

  1. Careful planning and preparation

Prior to your surgery, you’ll learn about the procedure and what to expect before and after surgery. You’ll also be asked to eat before your surgery to ensure you’re well-nourished. “This extra education and preparation allow you to engage in your own care,” Dr. Latta says.

  1. Easing stress on your body after surgery

Dr. Latta performs many colorectal procedures using the da Vinci® robotic-assisted surgery system, which leads to smaller incisions. In addition, the in-hospital team will use fewer drainage tubes after surgery than in the past.

  1. Treating and preventing pain with fewer narcotics

Most colorectal surgery patients will receive local anesthesia targeted to the abdominal wall prior to surgery. That helps reduce the need for narcotics after surgery. “Narcotics slow down the intestines and your recovery, and they can be addictive, which is why we use the newest methods to prevent pain with the fewest narcotics possible,” Dr. Latta says.

  1. Getting you up and walking as soon as possible

Most patients will eat and walk the day after surgery.

According to several clinical studies, hospitals implementing ERAS show improved post-operative pain management, significant reductions in post-surgery complications and improved patient satisfaction. “ERAS is a team approach that includes anesthesia, nursing, physical therapy, pharmacy, pre-admission testing, physicians and physician assistants,” Dr. Latta says.

Grand View Health is now applying ERAS principles to all surgeries, allowing the hospital’s care teams to deliver a higher level of care.

Learn more about colorectal surgery at Grand View Health.