The authors compared the drug use of 23 patients with 5 or more major
surgeries (mean number of surgeries = 9.8) with that of a matched control
group (mean number of surgeries = 1). Total drug use of the polysurgical
patients was 3.7 times greater than that of the controls and involved
narcotics, analgesics, barbiturates, and minor tranquilizers. The authors
describe the characteristics of polysurgical patients, one of which is
chronic pain, and propose a treatment plan that involves psychological
intervention for the patient and his or her family.