Post-surgery pain (or post-operative pain) is the residual pain a patient continues to feel after a surgical procedure. Virtually all surgical procedures will result in some level of acute post-surgery pain, which refers to the expected pain felt at and near the surgical site as the body heals.
However, this post-surgery pain can sometimes continue well after the surgical site has healed. If it persists for at least three months after the procedure, it is considered a chronic condition. Chronic post-surgery pain impacts the postoperative outcome of patients, their rehabilitation, and their overall quality of life.
What causes post-surgery pain?
Post-surgery pain is a type of neuropathic (nerve) pain which is thought to result from injury to a major peripheral nerve during a surgical procedure.
Surgery, by its nature, involves the cutting of tissues and nerves, which activate the body’s automatic injury responses, such as inflammation. Sometimes, these reactions can result in alterations to how the nervous system processes pain signals, which can lead to chronic pain.
What are symptoms of post-surgery pain?
Symptoms of post-surgery pain include:
- Persistent pain three months after surgery
- Burning pain
- Shooting pain
- Sensitivity to touch or temperature
Post-surgery pain is believed to be caused by damage to peripheral nerves, which means the resulting pain is not necessarily located near the surgical site.
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