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Clinical Oral Investigations

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Postoperative pain management is of utmost interest for patients undergoing orthognathic surgery. Currently, there is a lack of information regarding process and outcome parameters of postoperative pain management after bilateral sagittal split osteotomy.

Materials and methods

In a prospective clinical study, 31 adults were evaluated on the first postoperative day following bilateral sagittal split osteotomy using the standardized questionnaire of the Germany-wide project Quality Improvement in Postoperative Pain Management (QUIPS). It allows a standardized assessment of patients’ characteristics, pain parameters, outcome, and pain therapy process parameters.


Pain management consisted mainly of premedication with midazolam, sufentanil, and metamizol intraoperatively; piritramide in the recovery room; and metamizol and tramadol on ward. Twenty patients (64.5%) showed inadequate pain management with pain levels ≥4. Patients receiving tramadol as opioid on ward presented significantly higher maximum pain levels (p = .037). Significantly lower satisfaction with postoperative pain intensity (p > .001) and significantly higher desire for additional pain medication (p = .023) were detected, when duration of surgery was above the median of 107.5 min.


Inadequate pain management on the first postoperative day following bilateral sagittal split osteotomy was widespread on our ward. QUIPS helped us to identify it and thereby gave us the possibility to improve the situation. Prolonged duration of surgery seems to be a predictor of an elevated postoperative pain medication demand.

Clinical relevance

Only the establishment of an ongoing monitoring of postoperative pain management can help to reduce or even avoid inadequate postoperative pain management. In accordance to the existing literature, we found inadequate postoperative pain management more widespread than thought.


Accepted version. Clinical Oral Investigations, Vol. 22, No. 1 (January 2018): 181-187. DOI. © 2018 Springer. Used with permission.

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