Postoperative acute pain challenges in patients with cancer

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


It is expected that the number of surgical procedures to diagnose, treat, and palliate cancers will increase in the near future. While many of those interventions can be performed with minimally invasive techniques, others require surgical large incisions and in some instances, they involve multiple areas of the body (i.e., tumor resections with flap reconstructions). Pain after major oncological procedures can be severe and many times difficult to treat as patients can present to the operating room with several conditions including preoperative pain (i.e., rapidly growing tumors and painful neuropathies), opioid tolerance, and contraindications to nonopioid analgesics or regional anesthesia. Inadequately treated postoperative pain is associated with activation of the sympathetic system, postoperative complications, large perioperative opioid use, and an increased risk of developing postoperative persistent pain. Furthermore, it has been theorized that poorly treated pain is associated with cancer recurrence and a reduced survival. Lastly, recent research questions the oncological safety of robotic surgery in gynecological procedures and indicates the need of open surgeries, which will be associated with an increased risk in moderate-to-severe postoperative pain. In conclusion, the management of acute postoperative pain in patients with cancer can be challenging.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)361-371
Number of pages11
JournalBest Practice and Research: Clinical Anaesthesiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2019


  • acute pain
  • cancer
  • surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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