Background and aims Persistent post-surgical pain (PPSP) is significant issue following breast cancer treatment. Primary aim of this study was to determine the frequency of persistent pain in patients after breast cancer surgery while the secondary aim was to observe the distribution and characteristics of pain in these patients.
Methods This prospective observational single cohort study was conducted in the Department of Anaesthesiology and the Breast Surgery Clinic of the Department of Surgery, Aga Khan University. Adult female patients with biopsy proven carcinoma of breast who were scheduled for elective definitive breast cancer surgery were enrolled in this study. Total 120 patients were followed for up to 3 months after surgery and those who had persistent pain were followed up for 6 months after operation.
Results Of the 120 patients, 26 (21.7%) patients developed persistent post-surgical pain for up to 3 months while in 17 (14.2%) patients pain continued for up to 6 months after operation. Of 26 patients with PPSP, 11 (42.3%) had burning pain, 10 (38.5%) had throbbing pain, 3 (11.5%) patients had numbness and 2 patients had mixed character of pain. 11 patients developed pain at more than one site. Pain was distributed in axilla, chest wall, upper arm and surgical scar area. 15 of 26 patients (57.7%), had pain in axilla.
Conclusions Persistent pain following breast cancer surgeries was found to be 21.7% in this study; 15 of 26 patients had pain in axilla.
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