US Pharm. 2015;40(3):16-17.

Many variables influence a patient’s risk of chronic pain after surgery, and doctors are still exploring ways to identify those variables prior to surgical procedures. A study published in the Online First edition of Anesthesiology, the journal of the American Society of Anesthesiologists, gives physicians a new planning tool to help identify patients’ risks of chronic pain after surgery.

“Our study rigorously examined patients’ risks of chronic postsurgical pain,” said lead study author Antonio Montes Perez, MD, PhD, Department of Anesthesiology, Hospital del Mar in Barcelona, Spain. “We sought a tool that would reliably predict a patient’s risk preoperatively, at the time surgery is being planned. We developed a risk scoring system that can be used before surgery, when care planning and preventive measures are critically important.”

The researchers followed 2,929 patients undergoing three common types of surgery (hernia repair, hysterectomy, and thoracotomy) for 2 years, assessing their pain at 4, 12, and 24 months post surgery. The GENDOLCAT study found that there is significant risk of chronic pain after surgery, with 18% of the patients developing chronic pain after 4 months, and 5.2% still experiencing chronic pain after 24 months.