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n CME : Your SA Journal of CPD - Postoperative pain management : main article
Postoperative pain is a common concern among patients and their families.
Pain levels should be assessed objectively by using pain scales.
Opioids are often avoided because of fears of side-effects or addiction, both of which are rare in postoperative patients.
In the management of postoperative pain, the intention is to target different mechanisms of pain with different analgesics (multimodal analgesia) by combining analgesics with different modes of action.
The patient should be informed about the expected level of postoperative pain associated with the operation, and about the methods of providing analgesia.
One of the objectives of premedication is to initiate analgesic management before surgical tissue damage has occurred.
After all surgical procedures, the aim is to achieve a pain score of 4 or less.
If severe postoperative pain is anticipated the preferred management is by means of an epidural catheter or continuous plexus anaesthesia, or, if unavailable, by patient-controlled analgesia using intravenous morphine.
Anti-emetic therapy is required if opioids are used to control postoperative pain.
Patients are entitled to high-quality postoperative management which is possible to achieve with current techniques.
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