The impact of anxiety on postoperative pain following pelvic reconstructive surgery

Int Urogynecol J. 2023 Jul;34(7):1551-1557. doi: 10.1007/s00192-022-05423-y. Epub 2022 Dec 21.


Introduction and hypothesis: Despite the prevalence of anxiety, its impact on postoperative pain remains poorly characterized. The present study was aimed at assessing the impact of preoperative anxiety on postoperative pain in patients undergoing pelvic reconstructive surgery. We hypothesized that greater anxiety would be associated with increased postoperative pain for patients undergoing pelvic reconstructive surgery.

Methods: This was a prospective multi-center observational study in Baltimore between September 2018 and June 2019. The Beck Anxiety Inventory was used to assess preoperative anxiety and the validated Surgical Pain Scale instrument was used to assess pain in the postoperative period. The association between anxiety and postoperative pain was analyzed using multivariate logistic regression, adjusting for relevant confounders.

Results: A total of 149 patients undergoing pelvic reconstructive surgery completed preoperative surveys. The median age of the study population was 59. The prevalence of preoperative anxiety (anxiety score > 9) in our study population was 26.8% (95% CI 19.7-34.0%). Women with preoperative anxiety reported higher postoperative pain on days 1-2 (relative odds 1.05, 95% confidence interval 1.01-1.10) and day 14 (relative odds 1.53, 95% confidence interval 1.00-2.34).

Conclusions: A large fraction of women undergoing pelvic reconstructive surgery have moderate to severe preoperative anxiety. Women with preoperative anxiety appear to have greater odds of increased postoperative pain. Understanding this association may help surgeons with preoperative counseling and expectations regarding postoperative pain.

Keywords: Anxiety; Gynecological surgery; Pain; Pelvic reconstruction.

Publication types

  • Observational Study
  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Anxiety / epidemiology
  • Anxiety / etiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Pain, Postoperative / epidemiology
  • Pain, Postoperative / etiology
  • Plastic Surgery Procedures* / adverse effects
  • Prospective Studies
  • Surgery, Plastic*