The transition from acute to chronic post surgical pain
All chronic pain was once acute, but not all acute pain becomes chronic. The transition of acute postoperative pain to chronic post surgical pain is a complex and poorly understood developmental process. The manuscript describes the various factors associated with the transition from acute to chronic pain. The preoperative, intraoperative and postoperative surgical, psychosocial, socio-environmental and patient-related factors and the mechanisms involved are discussed and preventive (or limitation) strategies are suggested. In future, the increasing understanding of genetic factors and the transitional mechanisms involved may reveal important clues to predict which patients will go on to develop chronic pain. This may assist the development of appropriate interventions affecting not only the individual concerned, but also ultimately the community at large.