BACKGROUND: Chronic postoperative pain (CPOP) is defined as pain of at least 2 months duration after a surgical procedure. Until recently, it has been a neglected topic, because it can occur after a wide spectrum of operations; however, little is known regarding its underlying mechanism, prevalence, risk factors, and treatments. We investigated characteristics of CPOP after various operations via a questionnaire. METHODS: Patients were contacted at > 2 months after surgery, irrespective of sex, type of operation or anesthesia method, and a follow-up pain questionnaire was administered by phone. RESULTS: One hundred forty-five of 400 patients (36.3%) described CPOP. The prevalence of CPOP was significantly lower in laparoscopic surgery (29/159, 18.2%) than open surgery (116/241, 48.1%). The prevalence of CPOP was higher with the use of PCA (patient controlled analgesia), (45.3%) than without PCA (24.6%). There were no significant differences regarding sex, anesthetic method, or duration of operation. CONCLUSIONS: Our results indicate that the prevalence of CPOP may be related to use of an endoscope and PCA. However, it is difficult to completely explain the correlation, because this is a complex area of research. More research is needed to improve the quality of pain relief.