Advances in the Management of Acute Postsurgical Pain: A Review


Despite the millions of surgeries performed every year around the world, postoperative pain remains prevalent and is often addressed with inadequate or suboptimal treatments. Chronic postsurgical pain is surprisingly prevalent, and its rate varies with the type of surgery, as well as with certain patient characteristics. Thus, better clinical training is needed as well as patient education. As pain can be caused by more than one mechanism, multimodal or balanced postsurgical analgesia is appropriate. Pharmacological agents such as opioid and nonopioid pain relievers, as well as adjuvants and nonpharmacologic approaches, can be combined to provide better and opioid-sparing pain relief. Many specialty societies have guidelines for postoperative pain management that emphasize multimodal postoperative analgesia. These guidelines are particularly helpful when dealing with special populations such as pregnant patients or infants and children. Pediatric pain control, in particular, can be challenging as patients may be unable to communicate their pain levels. A variety of validated assessment tools are available for diagnosis. Related to therapy, most guidelines agree on the fact that codeine should be used with extreme caution in pediatric patients as some may be “rapid metabolizers” and its use may be life-threatening. Prehabilitation is a preoperative approach that prepares patients in advance of elective surgery with conditioning exercises and other interventions to optimize their health. Prehabilitation may have aerobic, strength-training, nutritional, and counseling components. Logistical considerations and degree of patient adherence represent barriers to effective prehabilitation programs. Notwithstanding all this, acute postoperative pain represents a clinical challenge that has not yet been well addressed.

Paladini A, Rawal N, Coca Martinez M, et al. (August 04, 2023) Advances in the Management of Acute Postsurgical Pain: A Review. Cureus 15(8): e42974. doi:10.7759/cureus.42974

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