Watkins Medical Centre
Level 8, 225 Wickham Terrace,
Spring Hill QLD, 4000

All appointments
Phone: (07) 3831 7034

How is post operative pain control managed ?

It is important to understand that having surgery causes pain. Some operations cause more pain than others and all patients respond differently to surgery, with some patients having more pain than others. It is very important that your pain is controlled in the post-operative period. This is not just as a matter of kindness. Studies show that it is important for your health and even the long term outcome may be affected if your immediate pain is not controlled.


No one else can see you are in pain - tell someone!

This is a most important concept to grasp. Patients often think that nurses or doctors can see they are in pain and will intervene. Pain however is invisible to outsiders. Your doctors and nurses can only know you are in pain if you tell them, or they witness obvious severe pain behaviour - such as moaning, or sweating, or changes in pulse and blood pressure. It is much better that you do not let things get this far before saying to the nurse, 'I have pain'. The nurse has many options at her disposal to deal with your pain. These will have been prescribed for you by your surgeon or anaesthetist to be used as required.

Post-operative pain measures

  • Usually  a long acting local anaesthetic will be injected around your incision at the end of the operation. This can give up to 6 hours of good pain control and when it wears off studies have shown that there is less pain than if it had not been used.
  • Some form of oral narcotic medication will usually be prescribed (such as Oxycodone) and it is better to get onto this as soon as possible.
  • Injections of Morphine can be used
  • Epidural infusions of local anaesthetic or narcotic (such as fentanyl)
  • Intravenous narcotics - see .patient controlled analgesia (PCA)

Pre-operative oral narcotics

When patients have been taking significant quantities of oral narcotics prior to surgery, post-operative pain control may be very difficult as the body has become tolerant to narcotics. Under these circumstances the services of a specialist pain management anaesthetist may be required.