Acute postoperative pain management protocols in podiatric surgery within Australia: a Delphi study

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Background: There is limited evidence in the literature to describe an analgesic protocol that takes into consideration the extent of foot and ankle surgery. The aim of this study was to develop a guide for acute postoperative pain management for podiatric surgery in Australia, and to identify opportunities to improve the current list of scheduled medicines available to podiatric surgeons. Methods: A Delphi method involving 3 survey rounds was employed for this study. Twelve expert panellists in the field of podiatric surgery and anaesthesiology were invited to participate, and 10 panellists remained by the end of the study. Round 1 involved 15 open-ended questions. These answers formed the basis of the 55 statements that were developed for the following 2 survey rounds, where panellists rated the appropriateness of each statement on a 9-point Likert scale. The third survey round was an opportunity for panellists to revise their answers to each statement in light of the majority response. Results: For mild acute postoperative pain, non-opioid oral analgesics were recommended as an appropriate management option. For moderate and severe acute postoperative pain, both non-opioid and opioid products were found to be appropriate by the majority. It was agreed that oral opioids be reserved for breakthrough pain at all severity levels. All other statements in the Delphi study pertaining to drug hypersensitivities or allergies, stratification of pain management, opioid prescription concerns, and access to pain medications were accepted as appropriate by the majority of panellists. Conclusion: The agreed approach to acute postoperative pain management for podiatric surgeons in Australia was with a stepwise approach, utilising multimodal therapy, and reserving oral opioids for breakthrough pain. Additionally, there was consensus for podiatric surgeons in Australia to have wider access to alternative analgesics and anti-emetics that have similar or improved efficacies with better safety profiles.

Original languageEnglish
Article number27
JournalJournal of Foot and Ankle Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 11 Apr 2022


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