Acute Post-Surgical Pain Management: A Critical Appraisal of Current Practice

James P. Rathmell, Christopher L. Wu, Raymond S. Sinatra, Jane C. Ballantyne, Brian Ginsberg, Debra B. Gordon, Spencer S. Liu, Frederick M. Perkins, Scott S. Reuben, Richard W. Rosenquist, Eugene R. Viscusi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Acute Pain Summit 2005 was convened to critically examine the perceptions of physicians about current methods used to control postoperative pain and to compare those perceptions with the available scientific evidence. Clinicians with expertise in treatment of postsurgical pain were asked to evaluate 10 practice-based statements. The statements were written to reflect areas within the field of acute-pain management, where significant questions remain regarding everyday practice. Each statement made a specific claim about the usefulness of a specific therapy (eg, PCA or epidural analgesia) or the use of pain-control modalities in specific patient populations (eg, epidural analgesia after colon resection). Members of the American Society of Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine (ASRA) were asked, via a Web-based survey, to rate their degree of agreement with each of the 10 statements; 22.8% (n = 632) of members responded. In preparation for the pain summit, a panel member independently conducted a literature search and summarized the available evidence relevant to each statement. Summit participants convened in December 2005. The assigned panel member presented the available evidence, and workshop participants then assigned a category for the level of evidence and recommendation for each statement. All participants then voted about each statement by use of the same accept/reject scale used earlier by ASRA members. This manuscript details those opinions and presents a critical analysis of the existing evidence supporting new and emerging techniques used to control postsurgical pain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-42
Number of pages42
JournalRegional anesthesia and pain medicine
Issue number4 SUPPL.
StatePublished - Jul 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Acute postoperative pain
  • Epidural analgesia
  • Patient-controlled analgesia
  • Regional analgesia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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