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Anesthesiology. 2007 May;106(5):1003-12.

Risk factors for chronic pain after hysterectomy: a nationwide questionnaire and database study.

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  • 1Danish Pain Research Center, Aarhus University Hospital, Aarhus, Denmark.



Women scheduled to undergo hysterectomy for benign indications frequently have preoperative pelvic pain, but it is largely unknown why pain in some cases persists or even develops after surgery. This nationwide questionnaire and database study describes pain and identifies risk factors for chronic postsurgical pain 1 yr after hysterectomy for benign indications.


A pain questionnaire was mailed to 1,299 women 1 yr after hysterectomy. The response rate was 90.3%, and the presence of persistent pain was correlated to indication for surgery, surgical procedure, type of anesthesia, and other perioperative data.


Pain was reported by 31.9% 1 yr after hysterectomy (chronic pain), and 13.7% had pain more than 2 days a week. Pain was not present before surgery in 14.9% of women with chronic postsurgical pain. Risk factors for chronic pain were preoperative pelvic pain (odds ratio [OR], 3.25; 95% confidence interval [CI], 2.40-4.41), previous cesarean delivery (OR, 1.54; CI, 1.06-2.26), pain as the main indication for surgery (OR, 2.98; CI, 1.54-5.77), and pain problems elsewhere (OR, 3.19; CI, 2.29-4.44). Vaginal hysterectomy versus total abdominal hysterectomy was not significantly associated with a lower risk of chronic pain (OR, 0.70; CI, 0.46-1.06). Importantly, spinal versus general anesthesia was associated with less chronic pain (OR, 0.42; CI, 0.21-0.85).


Thirty-two percent had chronic pain after hysterectomy, and risk factors were comparable to those seen in other operations. Interestingly, spinal anesthesia was associated with a lower frequency of chronic pain, justifying prospective study of spinal anesthesia for patients with a high risk for development of chronic postsurgical pain.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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