Chronic Pain After Lung Resection: Risk Factors, Neuropathic Pain, and Quality of Life

Silvia Fiorelli, Luigi Cioffi, Cecilia Menna, Mohsen Ibrahim, Roberto A. De Blasi, Erino A. Rendina, Monica Rocco, Domenico Massullo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Context: Chronic postsurgical pain (CPSP) can occur frequently after thoracic surgery. Objectives: This retrospective study aimed to determine CPSP prevalence, risk factors, neuropathic pain (NP) occurrence, and its impact on quality of life. Methods: About 200 patients who underwent lung resection via minithoracotomy or thoracoscopy between January 2017 and December 2017 were assessed 4–12 months postoperatively via phone interview for chronic pain by a 0–10 Numeric Rating Scale, for NP using the Douleur Neuropathique 4 test, and for quality of life using a Short Form-36 (SF-36) Health Survey (Italian version). Results: CPSP incidence was 35% (n = 70 of 200; 95% CI 41–28) of which 31.5% (n = 22 of 70; 95% CI 41–21) was with NP. Only 10% of patients with CPSP reported severe chronic pain. According to univariate analysis, CPSP was associated to moderate and severe acute postoperative pain (P < 0.001), open surgery (P = 0.001), and female gender (P = 0.044). According to multivariable analysis, independent risk factors for CPSP development included moderate-to-severe acute postoperative pain occurrence (odds ratio 32.61; 95% CI 13.37–79.54; P < 0.001) and open surgery (odds ratio 6.78; 95% CI, 2.18–21.03; P = 0.001). NP incidence was higher in female patients (16% in women and 6% in men, respectively; P = 0.040). A significant decrease in all SF-36 Health Survey domain scores was recorded for patients with CPSP and NP (P < 0.001). Conclusion: More than one of three patients who underwent lung resection could develop CPSP, frequently showing neuropathic component. Female gender reported a higher CPSP and NP incidence. Moderate-to-severe acute postoperative pain occurrence and open surgery seem to be independent risk factors for CPSP. Chronic pain and NP have a negative impact on quality of life, decreasing the SF-36 scores of all domains.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)326-335
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Pain and Symptom Management
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2020


  • Pain
  • chronic postsurgical pain
  • neuropathic pain
  • quality of life
  • thoracic surgery


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