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One in seven patients report more problems after surgery

Article-One in seven patients report more problems after surgery

Maastricht, Netherlands — A new Dutch study found that one in seven patients experience more pain, physical and emotional problems a year after surgery than before their operation — and that one in four have less vitality, PhysOrg.com reports.

Researchers from the department of clinical psychological science at Maastricht University spoke to 216 women and 185 men who had undergone procedures ranging from plastic to orthopedic surgery, asking them how far they had moved toward complete recovery at six and 12 months after surgery.

The researchers also used the SF-36 health survey to measure pain, physical functioning, mental health and vitality before surgery and six and 12 months afterward.

PhysOrg.com quotes lead author Madelon Peters, M.D., as saying, “Our study showed poor recovery was relatively frequent six and 12 months after surgery and could be partly explained by various physical and psychological factors (which) included acute postoperative pain and presurgical anxiety.”

More than half of patients (53 percent) said their pain levels had improved 12 months after their operation; 29 percent said pain levels were stable; and 17 percent reported greater pain. At 12 months, 34 percent of patients had better mental health; half had not changed; and 16 percent reported poorer mental health. Vitality increased in 39 percent of patients, stayed the same in 37 percent and deteriorated in 24 percent at 12 months.

“Most of the changes in health-related quality of life occurred during the first six months after surgery, after which the patients’ conditions appeared to remain stable,” Dr. Peters is quoted as saying. “It is clearly important to monitor how patients recover during this period, as an initially poor recovery may have lasting consequences.”

The study was published online in the August issue of the British Journal of Surgery.

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