We have currently a good picture of the prevalence of chronic pain after surgery, picture which did not change since the first reports almost 2 decades ago. Ongoing improvements in the light of past clinical studies are a novel more accurate definition of chronic postsurgical pain and the inclusion of chronic postsurgical pain in the future version of ICD-11 (by the World Health Organization and IASP task force). The later decision is expected to increase the recognition of the problem and to further promote research in the field. Besides, next year, 2017, will be for IASP the Global Year Against Pain After Surgery, which will contribute to attract the attention of caregivers, patients, and their relatives on the problem. Chronic postsurgical pain results from pain amplification and emotional distress. Although the risk factors are well known, they actually do not allow the clinicians to target the patients at very high risk and to provide efficient preventive treatments. Future challenges will concern the optimization of predictive tools. Screening of new populations like pediatric patients, use of pain trajectories including patients' observation during the subacute pain period, and implementation of transitional pain units as part of “Perioperative Medicine” are exciting projects which should gather caregivers and motivate them to better approach the transition from acute postoperative pain after surgery.
Department of Anesthesiology, Cliniques Universitaires Saint-Luc, University Catholic of Louvain, Brussels, Belgium
Address: Department of Anesthesiology, Cliniques Universitaires Saint-Luc, University Catholic of Louvain, Ave Hippocrate 10-1821, B-1200 Brussels, Belgium. Tel.: +32 2 7641821; fax: +32 2 7643699. E-mail address: Patricia.Lavandhomme@uclouvain.be (P. Lavand'homme).
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Received October 21, 2016
Received in revised form December 09, 2016
Accepted December 12, 2016