In most cases, postoperative pain inevitably follows surgery. It represents one of the most distressing factors that patients face in the post-surgical setting, it interferes with patients' comfort, and it may have an impact on morbidity and convalescence measures. In order to provide the best possible quality for the treatment of postoperative pain, the clinician should have the current best, valid, and relevant information concerning the various treatment options. However, seeking and keeping up with this knowledge have become increasingly difficult tasks as the amount of medical literature on postoperative pain control is expanding exponentially. In December 2002, a Medline search using the search-terms "postoperative pain" and "postoperative analgesia" revealed a number of articles that was well above 15 000. The volume of published medical information has become almost impossible to overview. Concise summaries of available information on treatment of postoperative pain are therefore becoming increasingly important.
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