A Practical Approach to Acute Postoperative Pain Management in Chronic Pain Patients

Academic Article


  • In the United States, more than 100 million people suffer from chronic pain. Among patients presenting for surgery, about one in four have chronic pain. Acute perioperative pain management in this population is challenging because many patients with chronic pain require long-term opioids for the management of this pain, which may result in tolerance, physical dependence, addiction, and opioid-induced hyperalgesia. These challenges are compounded by the ongoing opioid epidemic that has resulted in calls for a reduction in opioid use, with a concurrent increase in the number of patients with chronic opioid exposure presenting for surgery. This article aims to summarize practical considerations for acute postoperative pain management in patients with chronic pain conditions. A patient-centered acute pain management plan, including nonopioid analgesics, regional anesthesia, and careful selection of opioid medications, can lead to adequate analgesia and satisfaction with care. Also, a meticulous rotation from one opioid to another may decrease opioid requirement, increase analgesic effectiveness, and improve satisfaction with care.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Aroke EN; McMullan SP; Woodfin KO; Richey R; Doss J; Wilbanks BA
  • Start Page

  • 564
  • End Page

  • 573
  • Volume

  • 35
  • Issue

  • 6