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Br J Nurs. 2008 Apr 10-23;17(7):414-9.

Current interventions and approaches to postoperative pain management.

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Acute Pain Service, Poole Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and Health and Social Care, Bournemouth University.


Some degree of pain accompanies all surgical procedures. Current evidence informs us that patients will experience significant physiological and psychological effects if this pain is not adequately treated. These effects can cause serious harm, delay recovery from surgery, and in some cases lead to persistent post-surgical chronic pain. This article briefly discusses the importance of assessing patients preoperatively and highlights how some patients will have risk factors which may lead them to experience severe postoperative pain. Approaches to postoperative pain control are focused on ways to address the inter-patient differences in response to pain and treatments and avoid periods of ineffective pain relief. A review of the commonly used analgesics, paracetamol, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, opioids and local anaesthetics, and methods of administration, is included. The final section provides a short review of emerging trends in acute pain therapy and the implications for improving patient care.

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