Acupuncture Continuing Education

Acupuncture Assists Penile Surgery

New research published in Translational Andrology and Urology finds distal acupuncture effective in assisting local anesthesia for surgical procedures on the penis. Acupuncture needles are inserted into the forearm and hand to relieve discomfort associated with surgery. Acupuncture NeedlesAcupuncture has long been used in combination with conventional anesthetics during surgery and for post-operative pain. This new study investigates the effects of combining acupuncture points on the arm with local anesthetics to produce a more comfortable experience for the patient. The goal was to determine if this combination can facilitate a shift from general and spinal anesthesia to local anesthesia for penile surgeries.

A study of 1,481 males undergoing penile surgery investigated the efficacy of applying distal acupuncture points combined with topical nerve blocks. The main points used were LI4 (Hegu), LI10 (Shousanli), LI11 (Quchi), TB5 (Waiguan) and PC6 (Neiguan). The researchers discovered that the combination of acupuncture with local nerve blocks facilitated surgical interventions. The investigators note that this approach minimizes adverse effects and results in a more rapid return to daily living activities.

The researchers discovered that the use of acupuncture was effective for relaxing patients during diagnostic procedures including pharmaco-cavernosography and ultrasonography. Acupuncture was also successful in treating patient discomfort during preoperative preparations for penile venous stripping, penile corporoplasty, urethroplasty, vaso-vasostomy, penile arterial reconstruction, penile implants and penectomy. The researchers note that it is “meaningful to enhance those specific nerve blocks in penile surgeries” with acupuncture. They also note that acupuncture did not introduce significant difficulties into the surgical protocol. In addition, the researchers conclude that, “Acupuncture assisted Local anesthesia on an outpatient basis for penile surgeries appears to be highly promising.”

This is the location of acupuncture point LI11. Location of LI11


Hsu, Geng-Long, Cheng-Hsing Hsieh, and Sheng-Jean Huang. "Acupuncture assisted regional anesthesia for penile surgeries." Translational Andrology and Urology 2, no. 4 (2013): 291-300.

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