According to a study, acupuncture lowers pain and opiate use in total knee replacement surgery patients.

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According to a study, acupuncture lowers pain and opiate use in total knee replacement surgery patients.

According to a study presented at the ANESTHESIOLOGY® 2021 annual meeting, patients who receive acupuncture during total knee replacement surgery have less pain and require much less narcotics to manage their discomfort. According to the findings, 65 percent of patients who received acupuncture during surgery had a low-dose or opioid-free postoperative experience, compared to 9 percent of patients who did not receive acupuncture during surgery.

“Total knee replacements are one of the most common operative procedures in the United States, and they’re often very painful,” said Stephanie Cheng, M.D., DABMA, lead author of the study and assistant attending anesthesiologist at the Hospital for Special Surgery and assistant professor of clinical anesthesiology at Weill Cornell Medicine, both in New York City. “Acupuncture is extremely safe and can help reduce pain with few negative side effects, but it hasn’t been thoroughly explored as a surgical anesthetic.” At the Hospital for Special Surgery, 41 patients were receiving primary complete knee replacement. Electroacupuncture, a modified version of conventional acupuncture in which a small electric current is applied to thin needles implanted at identified acupuncture spots on the body, was added to the institution’s normal opioid-sparing multimodal analgesic strategy. Dr. Cheng, who is board-certified in medical acupuncture, used acupuncture to eight particular sites in the ear during surgery to give targeted pain relief in the knee.

In comparison to historical controls, the majority of patients experienced a considerable reduction in postoperative opioid use after receiving acupuncture. From induction of anesthesia to 30 days after surgery, 65% of patients maintained a low-dose opioid regimen of 15 oxycodone pills or fewer (57.5%) or were fully opioid-free (7.5%). In the past, just 9% of patients outside of the research kept a low-dose or opioid-free post-surgery regimen. After 30 days, all of the individuals in the study stopped taking opioids.

“Our research suggests that having a skilled medical acupuncturist ready to practice acupuncture in the operating room can help patients recover from postoperative pain,” Dr. Cheng stated. “Most studies fail to include alternative treatments, such as acupuncture, to assist reduce opioid prescription dependence for postoperative pain control.” In light of the circumstances, here’s a Brinkwire News Summary.

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