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Neuropathic Aspects of Persistent Postsurgical Pain: A French Multicenter Survey With a 6-Month Prospective Follow-Up

      Abstract

      To investigate the role of peripheral neuropathy in the development of neuropathic postsurgical persistent pain (N-PSPP) after surgery, this French multicentric prospective cohort study recruited 3,112 patients prior to elective cesarean, inguinal herniorrhaphy (open mesh/laparoscopic), breast cancer surgery, cholecystectomy, saphenectomy, sternotomy, thoracotomy, or knee arthroscopy. Besides perioperative data collection, postoperative postal questionnaires built to assess the existence, intensity, and neuropathic features (with the Douleur Neuropathique 4 Questions [DN4]) of pain at the site of surgery were sent at the third and sixth months after surgery. In the 2,397 patients who completed follow-up, the cumulative risk of N-PSPP within the 6 months ranged from 3.2% (laparoscopic herniorrhaphy) to 37.1% (breast cancer surgery). Pain intensity was greater if DN4 was positive and decreased with time since surgery; it depended on the type of surgery. In pain-reporting patients, the response to the DN4 changed from time to time in about 1:4 of the cases. Older age and a low anxiety score were independent protective factors of N-PSPP, whereas a recent negative event, a low preoperative quality of life, and previous history of peripheral neuropathy were risk factors. The type of anesthesia had no influence on the occurrence of N-PSPP. Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT00812734.

      Perspective

      This prospective observational study provides the incidence rate of N-PSPP occurring within the 6 months after 9 types of elective surgical procedures. It highlights the possible consequences of nerve aggression during some common surgeries. Finally, some preoperative predispositions to the development of N-PSPP have been identified.

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