Postoperative pain

Postoperative pain

Perioperative pain assessment and management in neurosurgical patients varies widely across the globe. There is lack of data from developing world regarding practices of pain assessment and management in neurosurgical population.

A survey aimed to capture practices and perceptions regarding perioperative pain assessment and management in neurosurgical patients among anesthesiologists who are members of the Indian Society of Neuroanaesthesiology and Critical Care (ISNACC) and evaluated if hospital and pain characteristics predicted the use of structured pain assessment protocol and use of opioids for postoperative pain management.

A 26-item English language questionnaire was administered to members of ISNACC using Kwiksurveys platform after ethics committee approval. This outcome measures were adoption of structured protocol for pain assessment and opioid usage for postoperative pain management.

The response rate for this survey was 55.15% (289/524). One hundred eighteen (41%) responders informed that their hospital setup had a structured pain protocol while 43 (15%) responders reported using opioids for postoperative pain management. Predictors of the use of structured pain protocol were private setup (odds ratio [OR] 2.64; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.52-4.59; p=0.001), higher pain intensity (OR 0.37; 95% CI 0.21-0.64; p<0.001) and use of pain scale (OR 7.94; 95% CI 3.99-15.81; p<0.001) while availability of structured pain protocol (OR 2.04; 95% CI 1.02-4.05; p=0.043) was the only significant variable for postoperative opioid use.

Less than half of the Indian neuroanesthesiologists who are members of ISNACC use structured protocol for pain assessment and very few use opioids for postoperative pain management in neurosurgical patients 1).

Studying the characteristics of postoperative pain at such an early stage allows for improved management. It helps to predict, according to the type of surgery and the anaesthesia used, those patients in which higher VAS values may be seen and to better adapt analgesic therapy 2).

Despite advances in surgical and anesthesiology techniques, many patients continue to experience postoperative pain after lumbar disc operations

The administration of tramadol with paracetamol was more effective than tramadol alone for early acute postoperative pain therapy following lumbar discectomy. Therefore while adding paracetamol in early pain management is recommended, continuing paracetamol for the late postoperative period is not advised 3).


Epidural fibrosis and epidural adhesion after laminectomy are developed from adjacent dense scar tissue, which is a natural wound healing process 4) 5) 6) 7) , and ranked as the major contributor for postoperative pain recurrence after laminectomy or discectomy.


The goal of postoperative pain management is to relieve pain while keeping side effects to a minimum. After hundreds of years of advances, the mainstay of pain therapy is still the opioids. While they are very effective analgesics, opioids also carry with them many undesirable side effects: sedation, respiratory depression, nausea and vomiting, hypotension and bradycardia, pruritus, and inhibition of bowel function. The treatment of complications such as nausea and pruritus may include the administration of antihistamines, which have an additive effect on sedation and respiratory depression.



Sriganesh K, Bidkar PU, Krishnakumar M, Singh GP, Hrishi AP, Jangra K. Perioperative Analgesia In Neurosurgery (PAIN): A national survey of pain assessment and management among neuroanesthesiologists of India. Int J Clin Pract. 2020 Sep 23:e13718. doi: 10.1111/ijcp.13718. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 32966673.

Cabedo N, Valero R, Alcón A, Gomar C. Prevalence and characterization of postoperative pain in the Postanaesthesia Care Unit. Rev Esp Anestesiol Reanim. 2017 Mar 28. pii: S0034-9356(16)30211-0. doi: 10.1016/j.redar.2016.11.006. [Epub ahead of print] English, Spanish. PubMed PMID: 28363327.

Uztüre N, Türe H, Keskin Ö, Atalay B, Köner Ö. Comparison of Tramadol versus Tramadol with Paracetamol for efficacy of postoperative pain management in lumbar discectomy: a randomized controlled study. Int J Clin Pract. 2019 Sep 11. doi: 10.1111/ijcp.13414. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 31508863.

Alkalay RN, Kim DH, Urry DW, Xu J, Parker TM, Glazer PA. Prevention of postlaminectomy epidural fibrosis using bioelastic materials. Spine (Phila Pa 1976) 2003;28:1659–1665.

Hsu CJ, Chou WY, Teng HP, Chang WN, Chou YJ. Coralline hydroxyapatite and laminectomy-derived bone as adjuvant graft material for lumbar posterolateral fusion. J Neurosurg Spine. 2005;3:271–275.

Temel SG, Ozturk C, Temiz A, Ersozlu S, Aydinli U. A new material for prevention of epidural fibrosis after laminectomy: oxidized regenerated cellulose (interceed), an absorbable barrier. J Spinal Disord Tech. 2006;19:270–275.

Yu CH, Lee JH, Baek HR, Nam H. The effectiveness of poloxamer 407-based new anti-adhesive material in a laminectomy model in rats. Eur Spine J. 2012;21:971–979.

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