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June 19, 1996


Author Affiliations

University of California—San Diego, La Jolla

JAMA. 1996;275(23):1795-1797. doi:10.1001/jama.1996.03530470023014

Patients, their families, and their physicians should now expect that anesthesiologists are able to provide acute pain management from the intraoperative to postoperative periods for children and adults.1 The fear of pain in the postoperative period, which has dominated patients' perception of anesthesia, should no longer be an issue for patients. Their primary care physicians should, when counseling patients preoperatively, be aware that satisfactory postoperative analgesia should be available. Pain management techniques now allow the realistic possibility of effectively eliminating pain as a major concern for surgery, diagnostic or therapeutic procedures, and painful chronic illness, eg, metastatic illness. Particularly in children, inclusion of preoperative sedation with amnesia removes the single most dreaded memory that the present adult population has of their own general anesthetic received as a child—"the black mask suffocating me as they held me down"— and blends with postoperative intravenous patient-controlled analgesia and epidural analgesia (using opioids,