Postoperative Pain Management in Children and Infants: An Update
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Many factors contribute to suboptimal pain management in children. Current evidence suggests that severe pain in children has significant long-lasting effects, even more so than in adults. In particular, recent evidence suggests a lack of optimal postoperative pain management in children, especially following ambulatory surgery. This review provides simple guidelines for the management of postoperative pain in children. It discusses the long-term effects of severe pain and how to evaluate pain in both healthy and neurologically impaired children, including neonates. Currently available treatment options are discussed with reference to the efficacy and side effects of opioid and non-opioid and regional analgesic techniques. The impact of preoperative anxiety on postoperative pain, and the efficacy of some nonpharmacological techniques such as hypnosis or distraction, are also discussed. Finally, basic organizational strategies are described, aiming to promote safer and more efficient postoperative pain management in children.