How can chronic post-surgical pain be prevented?

While most surgical procedures involve a bit of discomfort during the healing process, chronic post-surgical pain (CPSP) goes beyond the normal threshold. According to the National Institutes of Health, CPSP is an adverse effect.

It is a form of neuropathic pain that lasts longer than the expected recovery duration. It has a severe impact on the quality of life for the patient. It can also result in limited mobility, which carries even more emotional effects. Accordingly, it is up to medical staff to prevent CPSP in any way they can.

Medical staff must identify possible risk factors

Some people have a greater risk of experiencing CPSP than others. This includes people who experience intense pain leading up to their surgery, young adults, women, and people with certain genetic markers. Mental health can also play a role in whether a patient experiences chronic pain. Being aware of potential risk factors allows staff to make the necessary adjustments to reduce the chance of chronic pain.

They must also exercise care when performing procedures

Damage to tissues and nerves within the surgical site are another contributing factor to CPSP. Surgeons must locate surrounding nerves in order to take the proper steps to avoid them. In fact, research shows that patients are more likely to experience chronic pain when this crucial step is not taken.

Doctors must take preoperative pain seriously

As stated above, risk of CPSP increases when a patient experiences acute pain prior to the procedure. Treatments to quell pain leading up to a surgery have a positive impact on the severity and duration of post-surgical discomfort. This usually includes administration of pain medication to ensure comfort.

A combination of approaches might work best for patients. Proper pain management improves quality of life, but it can also prevent worsening effects after a medical treatment.