Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS)

Breast Reconstruction ERAS

Appointment New Patient Appointment or 214-645-8300

Breast reconstruction is a surgical procedure that restores the appearance of your breast after a mastectomy. It can use tissue transplanted from another part of your body, implants, or a combination of the two.

Our breast reconstruction ERAS program is designed to help patients return to health more quickly after undergoing the surgery.


  • Make this an ideal surgical experience for you, the patient.
  • Incorporate innovative pain medications to improve your postoperative pain control while decreasing your narcotic needs.
  • Prevent potential surgical and anesthesia complications.
  • Reduce the amount of time you’re in the hospital, aiming for a discharge from the hospital after two to three days.
  • Decrease your likelihood of having to return to the hospital after discharge.

Prior to Surgery

  • Your surgeon will meet with you to explain surgical plans and set your expectations for surgery.
  • We will call you to provide instructions for surgery and medications prior to surgery. You might also be scheduled for an appointment in our pre-surgical testing clinic to meet with our anesthesia team or have blood drawn.
    • We might request testing from your other physicians.
    • Call our pre-surgical testing clinic with any questions: 214-633-4202.
  • Lifestyle modifications:
    • We encourage you to stop smoking and consuming alcohol for one month prior to surgery.
    • We encourage you to increase your physical activity prior to surgery.
    • Eat a balanced, healthy diet high in protein, and remain hydrated.
  • On the night before surgery, do not eat solid foods after 11 p.m.
  • Follow instructions from your surgeon regarding skin preparation.
  • You can drink clear liquids (such as water, Gatorade, or Sprite) up to two hours before your surgery start time.
  • Drink either a bottle of water or a 12-oz. Gatorade on the way to the hospital, at least two hours before your surgery start time.
  • In the pre-op area, you will receive oral non-narcotic pain medications (gabapentin, celecoxib, and acetaminophen) to improve your postoperative pain.

During Surgery

  • You will receive general anesthesia and be completely asleep during the procedure.
  • Your anesthesia team will monitor you very closely while you are asleep and will insert additional intravenous (IV) lines or monitors if necessary.
  • You will receive multiple medications during surgery to treat pain and nausea.
  • There will be a specific and tailored anesthetic protocol to decrease the stress on your body, improve pain control, and accelerate your recovery.
  • A nerve block might be performed during the procedure. This is designed to decrease your postoperative pain and need for IV and oral pain medications.

Post-Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU) and After

  • You will wake up in our recovery room (post-anesthesia care unit). Nurses with special training will closely monitor your reconstructed flap(s).
  • You will be asked to chew gum and ice chips and to drink clear liquids to help with recovery of bowel function.
  • You will be given an incentive spirometer to remind you to take deep breaths.
  • Starting on the day after your surgery, we encourage you to get out of bed and walk with help from your nurse.
    • Try to increase the distance and frequency of your walks each day; doing so will help your bowel function return to normal, prevent deconditioning, and speed up your recovery.
  • Unless instructed otherwise by your nurse or surgeon, you will be able to eat a normal diet the day after your surgery. Continue to chew gum or hard candy as well.
  • You will take scheduled non-opioid pain medications during your recovery and have narcotic medications available for breakthrough pain if necessary.

A Team Approach to Recovery

Jennifer Elia, M.D., explains why a team approach leads to better recovery.