Patients who had undergone surgical procedures as out-patients in either general or local anaesthesia were asked to complete a questionnaire with the aim of evaluating how they had experienced their operation, especially with respect to treatment and prevention of postoperative pain. Over a 12 month period, 851 patients (251 men and 600 women) who had undergone either abdominal, orthopaedic or gynaecological surgery as out-patients were given the questionnaire. Five hundred and fifteen patients (166 men and 349 women), i.e. 61%, answered. Nineteen percent had had their operation performed in local or regional anaesthesia, 30% in a combination of general anaesthesia with local infiltration, the remaining patients were operated under general anaesthesia. Eighty to ninety percent were satisfied with the preoperative information, and 88% were satisfied with the anaesthesia. Sixty-nine percent had had either no pain or almost no pain within the first 24 hours after the operation. Six percent found it difficult to stay home. Sixteen percent needed some kind of medical contact. Ninety-two percent said they would prefer out-patient surgery again as opposed to hospitalization, were they to need another operation. In conclusion, we found that these types of out-patient operations were acceptable to most of our patients (92%). We recommend widespread use of local anaesthetics in combination with general anaesthesia in order to minimize postoperative pain and facilitate the effect of postoperative analgetics.