New research confirms that electroacupuncture improves outcomes for patients receiving general anesthesia during gynecological laparoscopy. Laparoscopy is a type of minimally invasive surgery using a laparoscope so that only a small incision is necessary. The scope passes a light source, camera (lens or charged couple device ‘CCD’) and surgical devices through a small incision. The researchers measured significant improvements in patient outcomes when combining acupuncture with general anesthesia. The best results were achieved when applying acupuncture to acupoints St36 (Zusanli) and Sp6 (Sanyinjiao) bilaterally. Acupuncture decreased the necessary dosage of anesthetic, stabilized the heart rate and blood pressure during surgery and improved the recuperative process.
Ninety patients were divided into three groups in this randomized controlled study. Group 1 received only general anesthesia during surgery. Group 2 received bilateral electroacupuncture at St36 and Sp6. Group 3 received bilateral electroacupuncture at LI4 (Hegu) and Liv3 (Taichong). Group 1 had the most adverse side-effects and the slowest recovery period. Group 2 had the best scores for reduced restlessness, decreased postoperative pain, decreased shivering, nausea and vomiting; and reduced respiratory depression. In addition, the time from the end of the operation to opening of the eyes took the least time for the acupuncture groups- with Group 2 having the best score. The acupuncture groups also required less anesthesia and exhibited more stable heart rates and blood pressure – with Group 2 having the best score.
Zhongguo Zhen Jiu. 2012 Jan;32(1):59-64. [Comparison of effects of acupuncture-assisted anesthesia with different acupoint combination in gynecologic laparoscopy operation]. [Article in Chinese]. Yang QH, Ma WH, Li YH. Department of Anesthesiology, The First Affiliated Hospital of Guangzhou University of CM, Guangdong Province, China.