Preoperative quantitative sensory testing and robot-assisted laparoscopic hysterectomy for endometrial cancer: can chronic postoperative pain be predicted?

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Objectives Chronic postoperative pain is prevalent after robot-assisted laparoscopic hysterectomy for endometrial cancer. Preoperative Quantitative Sensory Testing (QST) has been utilized to identify patients at risk of developing chronic postoperative pain after a range of surgical procedures. The aim of this prospective, observational study was to (1) determine the prevalence of chronic postoperative pain, (2) assess selected preoperative risk factors for chronic postoperative pain, and (3) evaluate if preoperative QST profiling could predict the development of chronic postoperative pain following robot-assisted laparoscopic hysterectomy for endometrial cancer. Methods One-hundred and sixty consecutive patients were included and handheld pressure algometry, cuff pressure algometry, temporal summation of pain, conditioned pain modulation, and heat pain thresholds were assessed prior to surgery. Patients were asked to fill out a questionnaire concerning pain in the pre- and post-operative time period six months after surgery. Chronic postoperative pain was defined as persistent, moderate to severe pain (mean visual analogue scale (VAS)≥3) on a daily basis six months after surgery. Results The prevalence of chronic postoperative pain after robot-assisted laparoscopic hysterectomy for endometrial cancer was of 13.6% (95% CI 8.4-20.4%). Patients that would develop chronic postoperative pain had a lower BMI (p=0.032), a higher prevalence of preoperative pelvic pain (p<0.001), preoperative heat pain hyperalgesia (p=0.043) and a higher level of acute postoperative pain (p<0.001) when compared to patients that would not develop chronic postoperative pain. A logistic regression model demonstrated that the presence of preoperative pelvic pain was a significant, independent predictive risk factor for development of chronic postoperative pain (OR=6.62, 95% CI 2.26-19.44), whereas none of the QST parameters could predict postoperative pain. Conclusions Preoperative QST assessment could not predict the development of chronic postoperative pain despite preoperative heat pain hyperalgesia in patients that would develop chronic postoperative pain.

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