Postoperative pain and quality of recovery

Christopher L. Wu, Jeffrey M. Richman

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


Purpose of review: Quality of recovery is recognized as a valid and important outcomes measurement in clinical care and research. The increasing interest in evaluating quality of recovery reflects the overall increased interest in patient-focused assessments. Assessment of quality of recovery incorporates measuring many dimensions or domains including physiologic endpoints, adverse events and psychosocial status. Unlike 'traditional' outcomes that focus on major morbidity and mortality, quality of recovery assesses 'nontraditional' outcomes focused around patient-oriented endpoints. By adversely influencing the many domains assessed by quality of recovery, postoperative pain may have a general detrimental effect on quality of recovery. Recent findings: Studies utilizing validated instruments to assess quality of recovery have revealed that different levels of postoperative pain may differentially affect quality of recovery. In addition, quality of recovery in the immediate postoperative period may predict long-term quality of life. Summary: Higher levels of postoperative pain typically correlate with a decrease in quality of recovery. Different analgesic techniques and regimens may differentially influence quality of recovery, with preliminary evidence suggesting that some regional analgesic techniques may provide superior quality of recovery, quality of life and patient satisfaction. Further studies are needed to elucidate the effects of different analgesic techniques on quality of recovery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)455-460
Number of pages6
JournalCurrent Opinion in Anaesthesiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1 2004


  • Patient satisfaction
  • Postoperative pain
  • Quality of life
  • Quality of recovery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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