Background: Many patients still suffer severe acute pain in the postoperative period. Although guidelines for treating acute pain are widely published and promoted, most do not consider procedure-specific differences in pain experienced or in techniques that may be most effective and appropriate for different surgical settings. The procedure-specific postoperative pain management (PROSPECT) Working Group provides procedure-specific recommendations for postoperative pain management together with supporting evidence from systematic literature reviews and related procedures at http://www.postoppain.org
Methods: The methodology for PROSPECT reviews was developed and refined by discussion of the Working Group, and it adapts existing methods for formulation of consensus recommendations to the specific requirements of PROSPECT.
Results: To formulate PROSPECT recommendations, we use a methodology that takes into account study quality and source and level of evidence, and we use recognized methods for achieving group consensus, thus reducing potential bias. The new methodology is first applied in full for the 2006 update of the PROSPECT review of postoperative pain management for laparoscopic cholecystectomy.
Conclusions: Transparency in PROSPECT processes allows the users to be fully aware of any limitations of the evidence and recommendations, thereby allowing for appropriate decisions in their own practice setting.