Acupuncture relieves postoperative complications. Researchers compared laparoscopic surgery patients receiving only anesthesia with patients receiving anesthesia plus electroacupuncture. The group receiving electroacupuncture had less postoperative nausea and vomiting. The acupuncture patients also had improved mental state scores, less irritability and showed improvements in sedation scores. The researchers also documented that electroacupuncture promoted “gastric and systemic functional recovery.”
A total of 60 patients receiving gynecological laparoscopic surgery were randomly divided into two groups. Half of the patients received conventional anesthesia and the other half received conventional anesthesia plus electroacupuncture at acupoints ST36 (Zusanli) and ST34 (Liangqiu). Electroacupuncture was applied with a continuous wave at 2 Hz. Acupuncture needles with electrostimulation were applied 30 minutes prior to surgery and were retained until the end of the surgical procedure.
The researchers concluded that a combination of general anesthesia with acupuncture reduces postoperative irritability, nausea and vomiting. The acupuncture also improved the overall mental state of patients and improved gastrointestinal and systemic function recovery rates.
In a related study, researchers conclude that acupuncture significantly reduces intestinal dysfunction after laparoscopic surgery for colorectal cancer. A randomized group of 165 patients were divided into 3 groups. Group 1 received electroacupuncture at ST36 (Zusanli), SP6 (Sanyinjiao), LI4 (Hegu) and TB6 (Zhigou). Group 2 received sham acupuncture (simulated acupuncture). Group 3 was a control group and received no acupuncture. Time to defecation was significantly reduced in the true acupuncture group over the other groups. Acupuncture also reduced the need for pain medications, improved recovery times needed prior to walking and decreased hospitalization time.
Another study conducted at the department of surgery at the Bnai-Zion Medical Center (Israel) finds acupuncture effective in reducing pain after laparoscopic shoulder surgery. The researchers concluded that acupuncture is both safe and effective. Further, acupuncture integrated into the hospital setting both safely and effectively in complementing current conventional pain management approaches.
Patients were entered into the study by nurse and doctor referral if medications failed to control pain from post-laparoscopic shoulder surgery. Patients were then categorized according to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) clinical patterns and syndrome differentiation. Customized treatment plans and acupuncture point prescriptions were employed for all patients based on differential diagnostics. The researchers noted that other research more often employs fixed formula approaches according to a specific disease.
Being a surgery department, the research team took a very pragmatic and humanitarian approach. They noted, “We are less interested in whether complementary medicine can, or should, replace other forms of conventional pain management, but rather whether it can be used safely and effectively to complement current conventional pain management approaches.” The data tabulated and analysed, acupuncture demonstrated significant reductions in both local and whole body pain. The flow of patient care integrated smoothly into the current system of administration and no adverse events were reported. As a result, the team suggests that additional acupuncture continuing education is advisable including more randomized, controlled trials.
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Zhang, H., L. Wang, M. Zhang, X. H. Wu, Y. Li, Z. W. Zhang, and W. D. Shen. "Effects of electroacupuncture on postoperative functional recovery in patients with gynaecological laparoscopic surgery." Zhongguo zhen jiu= Chinese acupuncture & moxibustion 34, no. 3 (2014): 273.
Electroacupuncture Reduces Duration of Postoperative Ileus After Laparoscopic Surgery for Colorectal Cancer. Simon S.M. Ng, Wing Wa Leung, Tony W.C. Mak, Sophie S.F. Hon, Jimmy C.M. Li, Cherry Y.N. Wong, Kelvin K.F. Tsoi, Janet F.Y. Lee. Gastroenterology. Division of Colorectal Surgery, Department of Surgery, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Prince of Wales Hospital, Shatin, Hong Kong. 31 October 2012. published online 08 November 2012.
Kreindler, Gur, Samuel Attias, Anna Kreindler, Haim Hen, Bassel Haj, Ibrahim Matter, Eran Ben-Arye, and Elad Schiff. "Treating post-laparoscopic surgery shoulder pain with acupuncture."