Pain monitoring and management in a rehabilitation setting after total joint replacement

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Abstract

Total hip replacement (THR) and, particularly, total knee replacement (TKR), are painful surgical procedures. Effective postoperative pain management leads to a better and earlier functional recovery and prevents chronic pain. Studies on the control of pain during the postoperative rehabilitation period are not common. The aim of this study is to present results of a perioperative anesthetic protocol, and a pain treatment protocol in use in the Orthopaedic and the Rehabilitation intensive units of our Hospital. 100 patients (50 THR and 50 TKR) were retrospectively included in this observational study. Numeric Rating Scale (NRS) for pain at rest registered in the clinical sheet was retrieved for all patients and analyzed with respect to the spinal anaesthesia given for the surgery, local analgesia, analgesia protocol adopted during the postoperative days in the Orthopaedic Unit, the antalgic treatment given during the stay within the Rehabilitation Unit, the postoperative consumption of rescue pain medication, and any collateral effect due to the analgesic therapy. Patients reached standard functional abilities (walking at least 50 meters and climbing/descending stairs) at a mean length of 8 days without medication-related complications. Mean NRS during the time of stay was 1.3 ± 0.3 for THR and 1.3 ± 0.2 for TKR) and maximum mean NRS was 1.8 ± 0.5 for TKR and 1.8 ± 0.6 for THR. The use of rescue therapy in the rehabilitation guard was correlated with the mean NRS pain and the maximum NRS pain. A very good control of pain with the perioperative anesthetic protocol and pain treatment protocol in use was obtained.

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