Post-thoracotomy Pain Syndrome

Curr Pain Headache Rep. 2022 Sep;26(9):677-681. doi: 10.1007/s11916-022-01069-z. Epub 2022 Jul 11.


Purpose of review: This article reviews PTPS demographics, diagnosis, pathophysiology, surgical and anesthetic techniques, and their role in preventing PTPS along with updated treatment options.

Recent findings: Post-thoracotomy pain syndrome (PTPS) can be incapacitating. The neuropathic type pain of PTPS is along the incision site and persists at least 2 months postoperatively. There is a wide reported range of prevalence of PTPS. There are several risk factors that have been identified including surgical technique and younger age. Several surgical and anesthetic techniques have been trialed to reduce pain after thoracotomy. Multimodal pain control is the suggested long-term treatment plan for patients with PTPS. There are several factors that can be modified to reduce pain and incidence of PTPS during the perioperative period and the use of multimodal analgesia is suggested for the treatment of PTPS.

Keywords: Post-thoracotomy pain syndrome; Thoracotomy; Video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Analgesia*
  • Chest Pain / etiology
  • Humans
  • Neuralgia* / etiology
  • Pain, Postoperative / diagnosis
  • Pain, Postoperative / etiology
  • Pain, Postoperative / therapy
  • Thoracotomy / adverse effects