Anecdotal reports from China indicate that acupuncture can be used successfully as a sole analgesia method for a variety of surgical procedures such as open-heart surgery (Cheng 2000). However, there are limited data from the Western world to support the claim and experience demonstrated in the Chinese experience. The data available in the literature are inconsistent. In early 1970, Schaer (1979) conducted a study using EA as surgical analgesia in a group of women undergoing gynecological procedures. Based on the hemodynamic changes during the surgery, a small dose of fentanyl would be administered. The investigator found that EA was as effective as 0.27 |xg/kg of fentanyl given intravenously every 10 min. Grief and colleagues (Greif et al. 2002) performed electrical stimulation at the lateralization control point near the ear tragus and reported that this intervention significantly decreased the desflurane anesthetic requirements (~25%). Similarly, Taguchi and colleagues (2002) who applied auricular acupuncture stimulation at Shen Men, thalamus, tranquilizer, and master cerebral points also observed a similar anesthetic-sparing effect.
In contrast, Sim et al. (2002) conducted a sham-controlled RCT study of EA in a group of women scheduled for lower abdominal surgery. The investigators found no difference in morphine consumption between preoperative EA and sham EA groups. Additionally, postoperative patient-controlled analgesia (PCA) morphine consumption was not different between the groups. Similarly, Morioka and colleagues (2002) found that EA failed to decrease desflurane anesthetic requirements, and Kvorning et al. (2003) found that EA actually increased sevoflurane anesthetic requirements. Thus there are no conclusive data to support or deny the effectiveness of the use of intraoperative acupuncture or the analgesia modality. Wang et al. (2007) indicated that the type of anesthesia can have a significant damping effect on the acupuncture-induced central activities. Additional studies need to be conducted to verify whether the level of consciousness or depth of anesthesia affects the therapeutic effects of acupuncture. At the current time, there is inconsistency in the literature suggesting that more studies are needed to determine whether acupuncture can be used as a sole surgical analgesic or as an adjunct to local and general anesthesia for surgery.
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Have You Always Been Curious About Acupuncture, But Were Never Quite Sure Where To Stick The Needles? If you associate acupuncture with needles, pain and weird alternative medicine then you are horribly misinformed about the benefits of the world's oldest form of medicinal treatment.