Pain in incision months after surgery is a significant problem for patient discomfort and is often related to delayed wound healing. Many patients complain about chronic pain after surgery which usually takes place 6 months after the operation. How does it become prevalent? Because it also includes cosmetic procedures and surgeries, such as the pain of undergoing facelift surgery. Let us figure out what causes post-surgical pain and the things to do to manage it.
Chronic Pain After Surgery
Before we move forward to the necessary details, let us first check out some terms that might seem unfamiliar to you.
Acute postoperative pain
Acute postoperative pain occurs right away after a surgical operation is performed. Postoperative pain is normal, and it could last for a few days or weeks, depending on how your body reacts to the procedure. It’s important to remember that acute pain is expected after surgery.
The surgical incision is the cut made by the surgeon. This starts from the outer layers of the skin, through the skin, and the soft tissue. It is essential in surgeries, and it often leaves a scar, especially if the wound did not heal properly. The surgical incision can be tender and inflamed, which again is relatively standard and expected. The inflammation plays a crucial role in wound healing, a process where tissues, nerves, and muscles repair themselves.
Chronic pain refers to the persistent pain that comes and goes in three months or longer. It doesn’t go away no matter what kind of remedy you try. Also, it could be accompanied by swelling and severe infection. Many people are unaware that what they are experiencing is chronic pain, most especially if you are going to consider why they’ve had the surgery in the first place.
Is the pain a continuation of their previous condition? Or is it a side effect of the surgery they had? No matter the reason, there is only one way to find out, call your doctor or your surgeon.
How to Know the Difference
Some patients don’t recognize what type of pain they’re feeling. But you can always tell if something else has changed after your surgery. After all, it’s your body, and if there’s anyone who can tell if something is wrong, it’s you and your doctor.
Nerve damage after a hernia operation is typically unique from the discomfort you felt before the surgery. Another thing that you might notice is the tingling pain on your chest wall after major heart surgery, which is also different from the discomfort you’ve endured before the surgery.
You can contact your doctor due to the following reasons:
- developing pain in the wound or scar after the operation
- the pain on the surgery site lasts for more than three months
- you’re certain that cancer or infection are the causes of your pain
- the pain is different from the one you felt before the surgery
The type of pain that you will feel greatly depends on the kind of surgery you’ve had. This is because the symptoms are related to the dispersion of the nerves in the area of the surgery. Nerve pain or neuropathic pain comes with skin sensitivity, tingling, numbness, and stabbing pain. Damaging the nerve is possible on infrequent occasions.
Treatment for Post Surgical Pain
The treatment for patients would depend on the causes of the existence of postoperative pain. While the type of surgery you’ve had will have a contributing factor, the doctor will focus on treating your pain type. The focal point of the treatment would be the characteristics of the pain and why it’s developing.
Patients are advised to thoroughly explain how they feel so the healthcare professionals can come up with the proper treatment. Some of the types of treatment would include:
- tricyclic antidepressants
- TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation)
According to several clinical research studies, peripheral nerve ablation shouldn’t be used in chronic post-surgical pain management. In times when the techniques mentioned above did not work, other treatment approaches would be considered. For example, your doctor might advise you to consider physical therapy to reduce the impact of the pain on your life. Of course, for this to succeed, you must go to a specialist.
Chronic pain treatment can be costly and time-consuming to treat. So it’s essential to know who is at risk of post-surgical pain to help them prevent it from developing.
A particular group of patients could be at risk of pain after surgery than other patients. Moreover, women are more at risk than men, yet, this is still a case-to-case basis. Some studies report that women tend to experience severe acute pain, but the proof for chronic pain needs further analysis.
Younger patients are also more at risk than older patients- and this has been proven. This outcome is explained because younger individuals are more active and always on the move than older individuals. In short, the busy lifestyle of young patients affects how the wound heals. On the other hand, older people are less active, and their nerve and tissue reactions change as they age.
Vulnerability of People With Existing Chronic Pain
Patients who have existing chronic pain are more at risk of postoperative chronic pain. This could include patients with irritable bowel syndrome, migraine, fibromyalgia, back pain, and other conditions.
Additionally, anxious and stressed people during the surgery will most likely develop chronic pain after a few months. Preparing for the operation plays a vital role in ensuring your safety and quick recovery. Preoperative physical preparation helps you overcome the stress caused by anesthesia, blood loss, injury, and trauma. Talk to your doctor before the surgery so you can prepare emotionally and physically.
Chronic pain after surgery (https://painconcern.org.uk/chronic-pain-after-surgery/)