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Acupuncture: Review and Analysis of Reports on Controlled Clinical Trials
(87 pages)

Table of Contents
View the documentAcknowledgements
Open this folder and view contentsIntroduction
Open this folder and view contents1. General considerations
close this folder2. Review of clinical trial reports
close this folder2.1. Pain
View the document2.1.1. Head and face
View the document2.1.2. Locomotor system
View the document2.1.3. Gout
View the document2.1.4. Biliary and renal colic
View the document2.1.5. Traumatic or postoperative pain
View the document2.1.6. Dentistry
View the document2.1.7. Childbirth
View the document2.1.8. Surgery
View the document2.2. Infections
View the document2.3. Neurological disorders
View the document2.4. Respiratory disorders
View the document2.5. Digestive disorders
View the document2.6. Blood disorders
View the document2.7. Urogenital disorders
View the document2.8. Gynaecological and obstetric disorders
View the document2.9. Cardiovascular disorders
View the document2.10. Psychiatric disorders and mental disturbances
View the document2.11. Paediatric disorders
View the document2.12. Disorders of the sense organs
View the document2.13. Skin diseases
View the document2.14. Cancers
View the document2.15. Other reports
View the document3. Diseases and disorders that can be treated with acupuncture
View the document4. Summary table of controlled clinical trials
View the documentReferences
 

2.1.8. Surgery

Acupuncture analgesia has the following advantages in surgical operations. It is a very safe procedure compared with drug anaesthesia; no death has ever been reported from acupuncture analgesia. There is no adverse effect on physiological functions, whereas general anaesthesia often interferes with respiration and blood pressure, for example. There are fewer of the postoperative complications that sometimes occur after general anaesthesia, such as nausea, urinary retention, constipation, and respiratory infections. The patient remains conscious and able to talk with the medical team during the operation so that injury of the facial and recurrent laryngeal nerve can be avoided. However, remaining conscious may be a disadvantage if the patient cannot tolerate the emotional stress of the procedure.

While the benefits of acupuncture analgesia are many, the disadvantages must also be considered. The use of acupuncture is more time-consuming and in many cases may fail to bring about complete analgesia. It is often not suitable for abdominal surgery because suppression of visceral pain and muscle relaxation may be inadequate. It is not suitable in children because few children will tolerate the needling and keep still during major surgery. Also, the surgeon must be quick and deft, so that the operation can be finished before the patient develops tolerance to the needling.

In conclusion, acupuncture analgesia as an anaesthetic for surgical procedures is indicated in selected patients who show a good response to needling in the preoperative trial, particularly when they may be a poor surgical risk under conventional general anaesthesia. The use of adjuvant drugs to potentiate the effect of the acupuncture treatment is preferred. Acupuncture can also be used in combination with general anaesthesia to reduce the dosage of anaesthetic agents (83).

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Last updated: May 4, 2012