Persistent post-surgical pain (PPSP) is a major clinical problem with significant individual, social and health care costs. The aim of this study was to examine the joint role of demographic, clinical and psychological risk factors in the development of moderate and severe PPSP after Total Knee and Hip Arthroplasty (TKA and THA, respectively). This was a prospective study wherein a consecutive sample of 92 patients were assessed 24 hours before (T1), 48 hours after (T2) and 4-6 months (T3) after surgery. Hierarchical logistic regression analyses were performed to identify predictors of moderate and severe levels of PPSP. Four to six months after TKA and THA, 54 patients (58.7%) reported none or mild pain (Numerical Rating Scale: NRS 3). In the final multivariate hierarchical logistic regression analyses, illness representations concerning the condition leading to surgery (osteoarthritis), such as a chronic timeline perception of the disease, emerged as a significant predictor of PPSP. Additionally, post-surgical anxiety also showed a predictive role in the development of PPSP. Pre-surgical pain was the most significant clinical predictive factor and, as expected, undergoing TKA was associated with greater odds of PPSP development than THA. The findings on PPSP predictors after major joint arthroplasties can guide clinical practice in terms of considering cognitive and emotional factors, together with clinical factors, in planning acute pain management before and after surgery.
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