Patient Information Resources

Centre for Orthopaedics
Suite 10-33/34/35 Mount Elizabeth Novena Specialist Centre
38 Irrawaddy Road
Singapore, 329563, Singapore
Ph: (65) 6684 5828
Fax: (65) 6684 5829

Child Orthopedics
Pain Management
Spine - Cervical
Spine - General
Spine - Lumbar
Spine - Thoracic

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My 17-year-old daughter had a benign tumor removed from inside her skull. She didn't seem to have much pain with this operation. Is this because she's so young? Or are females just tougher when it comes to pain?

Probably neither one. Pain patterns after neurosurgery have been studied by a group of scientists in Germany and the Netherlands. It seems that pain is less likely for patients having operations on the skull (cranium) compared with spinal surgery. Headache is possible but not common.

Spinal or back surgery, on the other hand, tends to be more painful. These patients have more pain before the operation and less pain relief than expected afterwards.

Whether cranial or spinal surgery, gender (male or female) doesn't seem to matter. Both sexes reported about the same pain patterns when comparing pain level, location, or duration.

Age may make a slight difference. Younger patients tend to have more pain after the operation. Older patients (greater than 60 years of age) report more pain before the surgery. Anyone of any age or gender has more pain when there are complications after surgery.

It's possible that your daughter had good pain management before and after surgery. When the right combination of drug relievers is used, pain can be reduced and even eliminated for many patients.


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