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what causes chronic postoperative pain

Nerve Damage: Neuropathic pain, or pain caused by nerve damage or dysfunction, is one of the most common types of chronic postoperative pain. While surgeons take great care to avoid nerve damage during surgery, minor nicks and nerve stretching are sometimes unavoidable. Some examples of neuropathic postoperative pain include phantom limb pain and post-mastectomy pain.

Scar Tissue: Scar tissue forms when the skin and tissues heal after surgery. Scar tissue may pull on the surrounding tissues, compress or irritate nerve endings, or actually have nerve cells trapped within it. All of these factors can lead to pain and discomfort around the surgical area. Scar tissue pain can become persistent after gall bladder surgery, also known as a cholecystectomy.

Tissue Damage: Chronic postoperative pain from tissue damage is more common during orthopedic surgeries. Bone and soft tissues may be damaged or removed during a surgical procedure, such as a joint replacement, and this can lead to chronic postoperative pain.
Wound Inflammation: Persistent wound pain is fairly common after cardiac surgeries; however, it is usually the least severe type of postoperative pain. Inflammation surrounding the wound can potentially lead to chronic pain, but there is little research available on this topic.