Persistent pain is common 1 year after ankle and wrist fracture surgery: a register-based questionnaire study

K D Friesgaard, K Gromov, L F Knudsen, M Brix, A Troelsen, L Nikolajsen

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


BACKGROUND: Substantial literature documents that persistent postsurgical pain is a possible outcome of many common surgical procedures. As fracture-related surgery implies a risk of developing neuropathic pain and complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS), further studies investigating the prevalence and pain characteristics are required.

METHODS: All patients undergoing primary surgery because of ankle or wrist fracture at Hvidovre and Odense University Hospitals, Denmark, between April 15, 2013 and April 15, 2014, were identified from the Danish Fracture Database. A questionnaire regarding pain characteristics was sent to patients 1 yr after primary surgery.

RESULTS: Replies were received from 328 patients, of whom 18.9% experienced persistent postsurgical pain defined as pain daily or constantly at a level that interfered much or very much with daily activities, 42.8% reported symptoms suggestive of neuropathic pain, and 4.0% fulfilled the diagnostic patient-reported research criteria for CRPS.

CONCLUSIONS: Persistent postsurgical pain 1 yr after wrist and ankle fracture surgery is frequent, and a large proportion of patients experience symptoms suggestive of neuropathic pain and CRPS. Patients should be informed about the substantial risk of developing persistent postsurgical pain. Future studies investigating risk factors for persistent postsurgical pain that include both surgically and conservatively treated fractures are required.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBritish Journal of Anaesthesia
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)655-661
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Journal Article


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