Management of Somatic Pain Induced by Treatment of Head and Neck Cancer: Postoperative Pain. Guidelines of the French Oto-Rhino-Laryngology--Head and Neck Surgery Society (SFORL)

Eur Ann Otorhinolaryngol Head Neck Dis. 2014 Sep;131(4):249-52. doi: 10.1016/j.anorl.2014.05.002. Epub 2014 Aug 5.


Objective: To present the guidelines of the French Oto-Rhino-Laryngology--Head and Neck Surgery Society (SFORL) concerning the management of somatic pain induced by the treatment of head and neck cancer, and in particular the management of early and late post-surgical pain.

Methods: A multidisciplinary work group conducted a review of the scientific literature on the study topic. An editorial group subsequently read the resulting guidelines before validation.

Results: It is recommended to prevent onset of pain caused by malpositioning on the operating table, as well as pain related to postoperative care. During surgery, it is recommended to spare nerve and muscle structures as far as possible to limit painful sequelae. Management of early postoperative pain upon tumor resection and flap harvesting sites requires patient-controlled analgesia by morphine pump. Physical therapy is recommended after flap harvesting to minimize painful sequelae.

Conclusion: Preventive and curative measures should be undertaken for appropriate management of post-surgical pain in the treatment of head and neck cancers.

Keywords: Analgesia; Flap; Head and neck cancer; Neck dissection; Pain; Physical therapy; Surgical treatment.

Publication types

  • Practice Guideline

MeSH terms

  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Nociceptive Pain / therapy*
  • Pain Management / standards*
  • Pain, Postoperative / therapy*