Perioperative Pain Plan: Why is it Needed

Acute postoperative pain can lead to persistent postoperative pain in 10%-50% of patients. Effective pain management before, during, and immediately after surgery can prevent this development.

More than 45 million surgical procedures are performed in the United States each year. Despite improved understanding of pain mechanisms, interpretation of pain signals, and development of new analgesic techniques, the under-treatment of postoperative pain continues. In fact, it has been estimated that acute postoperative pain will develop into persistent postoperative pain in 10% to 50% of individuals after common operations. Since chronic pain can be severe in up to 10% of these patients, persistent postoperative pain represents a major clinical problem—affecting at least 450,000 people each year. Today, many hospital systems are graded based on how well they manage postoperative pain. Therefore, effective and timely preemptive pain control not only benefits patients, it can improve hospital ranking and reduce health-care expenditures.

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