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Chronic pain following Caesarean section

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Abstract:

Background: 

Chronic postoperative pain is a well-recognized problem after various types of surgery such as amputation, thoracotomy, mastectomy, gallbladder surgery and inguinal hernia repair. However, little is known about chronic pain after gynaecologic surgery. Therefore, the aim was to study the incidence of chronic pain after Caesarean section. Methods: 

A questionnaire was sent in February/March 2003 to 244 consecutive patients who underwent Caesarean section in a one-year period from 1 October 2001 to 30 September 2002. Patients were asked about duration of postoperative abdominal scar pain, and if pain was still present to describe the frequency and intensity of pain and its impact on daily life. The questionnaire also included questions about the Caesarean section and about pain problems elsewhere. Results: 

A total of 220 patients (90.2%) answered the questionnaire. The mean follow-up time was 10.2 months (range 6–17.6). Postoperative pain resolved in most patients within 3 months but 27 patients (12.3%) still had pain at the time of the interview. No patients had constant pain, but in 13 of 27 patients (5.9%) pain was present daily or almost daily. Patients with persistent pain (n = 27) had more often undergone general than spinal anaesthesia for the Caesarean section. Frequencies of pain problems elsewhere and recalls of severe acute postoperative pain were also higher among patients with persistent pain. Conclusion: 

Chronic pain after Caesarean section seems to be a significant problem in at least 5.9% of patients.

Keywords: Caesarean section; chronic pain; postoperative pain

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1399-6576.2004.00271.x

Affiliations: 1: Anesthesiology and 2: Gynaecology and Obstetrics, Viborg Hospital, 3: Danish Pain Research Center, University of Aarhus, and 4: Department of Surgical Gastroenterology, Hvidovre Hospital, University of Copenhagen, Denmark

Publication date: January 1, 2004

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