Purpose of review
Also in ambulatory surgery, there will usually be a need for analgesic medication to deal with postoperative pain. Even so, a significant proportion of ambulatory surgery patients have unacceptable postoperative pain, and there is a need for better education in how to provide proper prophylaxis and treatment.
Postoperative pain should be addressed both pre, intra- and postoperatively. The management should be with a multimodal nonopioid-based procedure specific guideline for the routine cases. In 10–20% of cases, there will be a need to adjust and supplement the basic guideline with extra analgesic measures. This may be because there are contraindications for a drug in the guideline, the procedure is more extensive than usual or the patient has extra risk factors for strong postoperative pain. Opioids should only be used when needed on top of multimodal nonopioid prophylaxis. Opioids should be with nondepot formulations, titrated to effect in the postoperative care unit and eventually continued only when needed for a few days at maximum.
Multimodal analgesia should start pre or per-operatively and include paracetamol, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), dexamethasone (or alternative glucocorticoid) and local anaesthetic wound infiltration, unless contraindicated in the individual case. Paracetamol and NSAID should be continued postoperatively, supplemented with opioid on top as needed. Extra analgesia may be considered when appropriate and needed. First-line options include nerve blocks or interfascial plane blocks and i.v. lidocaine infusion. In addition, gabapentinnoids, dexmedetomidine, ketamine infusion and clonidine may be used, but adverse effects of sedation, dizziness and hypotension must be carefully considered in the ambulatory setting.