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The purpose of this study was to compare postoperative foot and ankle patient-reported visual analog pain scores (VAS) to nursing staff and the treating surgeon during a single encounter. Prior literature established preoperative patients reported higher pain scores to a surgeon as compared to nursing staff. We hypothesized that there will be no differences in postoperative patients' pain scores when reporting to nursing staff vs a surgeon. This study was a retrospective cohort of 201 consecutive postoperative foot and ankle patients with 3 follow-up encounters treated by a single surgeon. The patients were asked to rate their pain intensity using the VAS with 0 "no pain" and 10 "worst pain" at 2, 6, and 12 weeks postoperatively by a nurse and surgeon. At all time intervals, the mean pain score was significantly higher when reported to the surgeon, although these were not clinically relevant. The mean scores at 2 weeks were 2.8 reported to the surgeon and 2.5 reported to the nurse (P < .001). The mean scores at 6 weeks were 2.0 reported to the surgeon and 1.8 reported to the nurse (P = .002). The mean scores at 12 weeks were 2.3 reported to the surgeon and 2.0 reported to the nurse (P = .005). This study found that postoperative foot and ankle patients did not overemphasize their VAS pain scores to the physician vs nursing staff. These findings contrast with our 2 previous studies that found preoperative and nonoperative patients reported clinically significant higher scores to the surgeon. Level III, comparative study. © The Author(s) 2020.


Trevor J McBride, Aaron Wilke, Jamie Chisholm, Kevin D Martin. Visual Analog Pain Scores Reported to a Nurse and a Physician in a Postoperative Setting. Foot & ankle orthopaedics. 2020 Jul;5(3):2473011420948500

PMID: 35097404

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