Patients' Assessment of 4-week Recovery After Ambulatory Surgery

Acta Anaesthesiol Scand. 2011 Jan;55(1):92-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1399-6576.2010.02322.x. Epub 2010 Oct 7.


Background: patients' own assessment of recovery after ambulatory surgery has not been well studied. The aim was to study patients' self-assessed recovery, the occurrence and time course of post-operative problems in relation to the type of ambulatory surgery.

Methods: a questionnaire was filled in by 355 patients at five time points: pre-operative, first day at home, 1, 2 and 4 weeks post-operatively. Consecutive patients who underwent either inguinal hernia repair (IHR), arthroscopic procedures (AS) or cosmetic breast augmentation (CBA) were included.

Results: unplanned return to hospital was rare (3/355). Health care contacts were noted for 9% of the patients during the first week; a total of 70 contacts occurred during the entire period. Pain was the most frequently reported symptom; 40% of the patients reported pain or mobility problems at 1 week, 28% after 2 weeks and 20% after 4 weeks. Pre-operative pain was associated with an increased level of pain during the early post-operative course, in the recovery room and at 1 week post-operatively. IHR was associated with an overall rapid recovery, while AS patients experienced a slower restitution. All AS patients who reported pain after 4 weeks had reported pain problems already pre-operatively. Pain was not present pre-operatively in the CBA group, but was common at 1 and 2 post-operative weeks and was still reported by 11% at 4 weeks.

Conclusion: self-assessed recovery was found to cover several weeks with procedure-specific recovery patterns. Pain and mobility impairment were still frequently reported 4 weeks post-operatively.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Ambulatory Surgical Procedures*
  • Analgesics, Opioid / therapeutic use
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / therapeutic use
  • Arthroscopy
  • Bandages / adverse effects
  • Breast Implants
  • Data Collection
  • Depression / etiology
  • Depression / psychology
  • Edema / epidemiology
  • Endpoint Determination
  • Female
  • Hernia, Inguinal / surgery
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain, Postoperative / drug therapy
  • Pain, Postoperative / epidemiology
  • Perioperative Care
  • Postoperative Complications / epidemiology*
  • Postoperative Period*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Reconstructive Surgical Procedures
  • Recovery of Function
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / etiology
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / psychology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • Analgesics, Opioid
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal