Persistent postoperative pain (PPOP) is the second most common reason for a patient to seek care at a chronic pain center. Many of the patients seen with prolapse or incontinence are at risk for developing PPOP as a result of the surgeries done for these problems. The pathophysiology of this disabling pain disorder is well understood, and the risk factors are easy to identify. Once identified, perioperative interventions can be offered to attempt to prevent PPOP.Methods and Results
Evaluation of articles obtained using a MEDLINE search involving chronic pain and PPOP, including prevalence, pathophysiology, and prevention was reviewed. The concept of central censitization and the key role it plays in chronic pain disorders were also reviewed. A history of chronic pain (anywhere) as well as findings of levator myalgia, allodynia, and hypertonic pelvic floor disorders is critical in identifying patients at risk for PPOP.Conclusions
Identification of patients at risk allows the clinician to educate the patient about the risk of PPOP and the various perioperative interventions that can be used to prevent its development. Further studies will be required to determine how effective these interventions are in patients undergoing surgery for incontinence and/or pelvic organ prolapse.