The purpose of post-surgical pain management is to reduce the amount pain a patient experiences after surgery. New research has suggested that preventing the nervous system from being overtaxed by pain from the trauma of surgery may lead to a less painful postoperative experience. Pretreated patients may require less post-surgical medications, may recover sooner than patients who have used traditional post-surgical pain methods. Recently, outpatient (also called ambulatory) surgery has become a procedure of choice for many complex surgeries, such as hysterectomy and prostatectomy that reduces the hospital stay thus cutting down the cost of treatment for the patient as well as the hospital. Preemptive analgesia introduces anesthetic drugs near the spinal cord or, sometimes, in nerve blocks in specific regions of the body.
Pain management during surgery
General anesthesia has been the standard for pain management during surgery. Topical local anesthetics are also being used to numb the surgical site before any incisions are made. Local anesthetics minimize pain trauma to the surgical site and the central nervous system.
Post-surgery pain management
Most hospitals make use of analgesics and narcotics immediately after surgery. These drugs may be administered intravenously, intramuscularly or orally and are considered one of the most viable methods. Many health practitioners prefer administering these drugs on a scheduled basis, even before the pain occurs.