Postoperative pain therapy in modern clinical practice still has significant deficits. Establishing acute pain services is reported to be a method of improving pain therapy. In this prospective study, 104 orthopaedic patients were treated with a postoperative epidural infusion of a combination of bupivacaine and sufentanil. Pain intensity and side effects were recorded daily by pain management personnel, and the pain therapy was adjusted according to the patients' need. The results showed that pain control was insufficient in 29 patients, and that side effects developed in 45 patients, included one patient with late respiratory depression. We conclude that acute pain service is essential in order to improve postoperative analgesia.