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One in Five Post-Op Patients Need Unscheduled Help

Last Updated: April 17, 2017.

A sizable minority of patients need to make contact with health services after outpatient surgery, most often due to inadequate pain management, according to a study published online April 10 in Anesthesiology.

MONDAY, April 17, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- A sizable minority of patients need to make contact with health services after outpatient surgery, most often due to inadequate pain management, according to a study published online April 10 in Anesthesiology.

Lone D. Brix, a Ph.D. candidate at Horsens Regional Hospital in Denmark, and colleagues surveyed patients who had undergone one of five common outpatient surgical procedures (knee or shoulder arthroscopy, surgical correction of hallux valgus, laparoscopic cholecystectomy, or a laparoscopic gynecological procedure) one week and eight weeks after surgery.

Based on 732 responses, the researchers found that within the first eight weeks after surgery, one in five patients had made unscheduled contact with health care professionals, most frequently due to pain in the first postoperative week. Risk factors for seeking unscheduled contact included female sex, unemployment, and laparoscopic cholecystectomy. The most frequent contact was with a general practitioner (46.4 percent), and further information and guidance was the most frequent outcome (41.2 percent).

"This finding should be considered when planning postoperative monitoring and care, and developing postoperative patient education," the authors write.

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