Monday, February 23, 2015

New "scoring" system to predict pain after surgery

A friend of mine had major surgery and went home on Tylenol. She did not like the nausea and intestinal nastiness of opiates.

I had the same surgery years ago and did take painkillers, as I recall.

People differ.

Now some anesthesiologists in Barcelona are trying to pin down what the risks are for post-op pain.

They looked at 2,929 hernia, hysterectomy, and thoracotomy surgery patients, assessing their pain at 4, 12, and 24 months after the operation.

First, there is substantial risk of chronic pain after surgery--chronic. Eighteen percent developed it after 4 months. More than 5% hurt after 2 years.

They did a scoring system based on:

Type of surgery
Age
Physical health status
Mental health status
Preoperative pain in the area
Preoperative pain in another area

Discussing the pain helps patients decide on the surgery, the doctors said. Appropriate pain plans can be put in place. Pain preventives can be instituted. And there can be a pain monitoring schedule.

They also looked at 90 genetic pain predictors--but they did not seem to play a role.

Sounds good--I think we do need more than, "Don't worry--you will get pain medicine."

They also need to prepare people for those post-surgical slumps and "I am so tired I want to die" moments.

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