Research: MEISSNER,

Listed in Issue 182


MEISSNER, Department of Anesthesiology and Intensive Care, Friedrich Schiller University Jena, Erlanger Allee, Jena, Germany. reviewed [28 refs] the evidence of efficacy for acupuncture and TENS for postoperative pain.


Both patients and care providers are concerned about the adverse events associated with pharmaceutical approaches used in postoperative pain management.


Acupuncture and transcutaneous-electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) are complementary treatment techniques and are very popular in the management of a variety of painful conditions. Therefore, their use might help to reduce opioid requirements and decrease the incidence of medication-related adverse events. The aim of this review is to summarize the latest findings on the use of acupuncture and TENS in postoperative pain management.


The number of recent high-quality trials on acupuncture and TENS in postoperative pain is limited. Evidence of efficacy in acupuncture studies is contradictory although some high-quality studies clearly found positive effects. Differences in setting and methodology might explain the variability in the results. Findings of the few recent trials using TENS are consistently positive.


Evidence of efficacy in recent studies on acupuncture and TENS in management of postoperative pain is limited. However, some high-quality studies clearly show positive results for both methodologies. As these techniques cause no harm, their use as adjunct to conventional pharmaceutical approaches could be considered particularly for patients in whom conventional techniques fail and/or are accompanied by severe medication-related adverse events. [References: 28]


Meissner W. The role of acupuncture and transcutaneous-electrical nerve stimulation for postoperative pain control. [Review] [28 refs]. Current Opinion in Anaesthesiology. 22(5):623-6. Oct 2009.

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