Surgical Pathophysiology Unit

Surgical Pathophysiology Unit at Rigshospitalet was founded in 2004 based on Henrik Kehlet’s previous research within perioperative physiology and development of the concept of “Fast-track surgery”.​

In Danish​ 

Research focus

The research focus on pain physiology and management, fluid management, minimal invasive surgery, surgical care principles, rehabilitation and organisational aspects has documented the concept to lead to major reduction in postoperative hospitalisation, medical complications and convalescence across surgical procedures. The results have had a major impact on surgical care all over the world, and representing a unique combination of improved quality with concomitant reduction of costs. Current research focuses on each of the components in order to achieve the ultimate goal: “The pain and risk free operation”.

A second focus has been on “Persistent postsurgical pain”, where research is based on nationwide studies in hernia, breast and pulmonary surgery to outline the pathogenesis and strategies for prevention and treatment, again with major international impact. Current research focuses on the relative role of pre-, intra- and postoperative risk factors thereby providing a rational basis for prevention and therapy.

Finally, the unit serves the scientific management and secretariat of the Center for Fast-track Hip and Knee replacement. https://fast-​​

The unit’s function is characterised to be multidisciplinary, multicenter and multinational and to implement clinical research into clinical practice. ​​​

An updated list with the scientific publications since 2010 can be found on the website of the Capital Region of Denmark 

Defended ph.d. theses since 2010
Kristensen, M. T. Hip fractures. Functional assessments and factors influencing in-hospital outcome, a physiotherapeutic perspective.

Gärtner, R. Early recovery and chronic sequelae after treatment for breast cancer.

Krenk, L. Postoperative cognitive decline after fast-track hip and knee arthroplasty

Jakobsen, T. L. Progressive strength training commenced early after fast-track total knee arthroplasty: Feasibility and effect.

Lunn, T. H. High-dose glucocorticoid to improve postoperative recovery in total hip and knee arthroplasty.

Wildgaard, K. The post-thoracotomy pain syndrome - epidemiological, psychophysical and social consequences.

Andersen, K.G. Treatment related risk factors for the development of persistent pain after breast cancer treatment.

Bischoff, J. M. Management of persistent inguinal postherniorrhaphy pain: Pharmacological and surgical aspects.

Jans, Ø. Orthostatic intolerance during early mobilization after major surgery.

Lindberg-Larsen, M. Early morbidity after bilateral and revision hip and knee arthroplasty in Denmark.

Specht, K. Fast-track hip and knee arthroplasty-: its nursing organisation and the patient perspective.  

Bjerregaard, L. S. Postoperative urinary retention in fast-track total hip and knee arthroplasty.

Wijayasinghe, N. The role of ultrasound guided peripheral nerve blockade for the diagnosis and management of persistent inguinal postherniorrhaphy pain and persistent pain after breast cancer surgery.

Gylvin, S. H. Psychiatric disorder and psychopharmacological treatment as risk factors for postoperative morbidity in fast-track total hip and knee arthroplasty

Luna, I. E. Early pain and physical recovery after total hip- and knee arthroplasty

Lindberg-Larsen, V. O. The effect of preoperative glucocorticoid on physiological responses to fast-track hip and knee arthroplasty. 

Holbek, B. L. The role of chest drains in fast-track video-assisted thorascopic surgery.

Molbech, C. R. Age-related macular degeneration and the inflammatory reflex.

Riberholt, C. G. Early orthostatic exercise in patients with severe traumatic or acquired brain injury.

Petersen, P. B. Improvements in fast-track hip and knee arthroplasty.

Scott, S. I. Quality of Life and functional outcomes after treatment for oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma (OPSCC). 

Steinthorsdottir, K. J. The effects of high dose preoperative glucocorticoids for early postoperative recovery.

Wennervaldt, K. Variations in surgical cancer treatment in Denmark- regional variations in pancreatic, kidney, and bladder cancer.

Huang, L. Improving outcomes after video-assisted thorascopic surgery in the era of enhanced recovery.

Højvig J. Optimising perioperative treatment for microsurgical reconstruction after head and neck cancer: Enhanced recovery and improved clinical pathway. 

Maibom, S. L. Short-term morbidity after radical cystectomy for bladder cancer.

Awada, H. N. Acute and late onset postoperative cognitive impairment after fast-track surgery: exploring the pattern of occurrence and related risk factors.

Hristovska A.M. Orthostatic intolerance after knee arthroplasty. Incidence & pathophysiological mechanisms.

Defended doctoral theses since 2010
Basse, L. Multimodal rehabilitation after colonic resection: A clinical pathway to improve outcome.

Bay-Nielsen, M. Dansk Herniedatabase -en klinisk database til forbedring og monitorering af kirurgisk praksis på landsplan.

Foss, N. B. Perioperative care of hip fracture patients.

Husted, H. Fast-track hip and knee arthroplasty: clinical and organizational aspects.

Aasvang, E. K. Clinical and neuropsychological characterization of persistent postherniotomy pain

Bundgaard-Nielsen, M. Perioperative individualized goal-directed fluid therapy. Methodological and clinical aspects.

Andersen, L. Ø. High-volume local infiltration analgesia in hip and knee arthroplasty.

Lunn, T. H. Postoperative pain management in total hip and knee replacement.

Andersen, K.G. Persistent pain after breast cancer surgery.

Jans, Ø. Patient blood management in elective fast-track hip- and knee arthroplasty - clinical and epidemiological studies.

Jørgensen, C. C. Postoperative morbidity and associated risk-factors in fast-track total hip and knee arthroplasty. 

Management team


Pro​fessor Henrik Kehlet
Head of Section for 
Surgical Pathophysiol​ogy
Department 7621
Tlf.: +45 3545 4774
Fax: +45 3545 6543


See CV for Henrik Kehlet (pdf, opens in a new tab)

Annett Finken
Professor secretary
Department 7621
Tlf.: +45 3545 4959
Fax: +45 3545 6543


​Related units

Unit of Perioperative Nursing
Surgical Pathophysiology Unit is associated with the Unit of Pe​rioperative Nursing.
This section is working with the development of the surgical nursing as a part of the fast-track surgery. ​

Responsible editor