Pain Centre

05 December 2008

Types of postoperative pain relief

There are many different ways of providing postoperative pain relief.

There are many different ways. For mild to moderate pain, oral painkillers will be sufficient. More severe pain is traditionally treated with injections of morphine or other opioids. If appropriate, local anaesthetics can be used to numb the nerves that transmit the pain from the operation area (e.g. epidural, nerve bundle to the leg or arm). Small surgical cuts, like removal of a breast lump, can be infiltrated with local anaesthetic.

Ideally a so called multi-modal approach is used: instead of trying to kill the pain with a lot of only one drug, a combination of a little bit of different drugs is used, which improves efficacy and decreases the risk for side-effects.

Different types:

  • The "traditional" way of post-operative pain relief: Injections of morphine or another opioid
  • Local anaesthetic for post-operative pain control
  • The epidural route for post-operative pain relief.

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Dr Raath originally specialised and worked as an anaesthesiologist in private practice. In 2008 he obtained his Fellowship In Interventional Pain Practice and since then has operated the the Pain Clinic at the Netcare Jakaranda Hospital in Pretoria which treats all forms of chronic pain.

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