December 18, 2013

Acupuncture Helps with Ear Surgery Pain

Researchers at Boston Children's Hospital has found that acupuncture may be effective in diminishing both pain and post-anesthesia agitation in children after ear tube placement determined thru a prospective randomized controlled trial.

Typically, children are placed under general anesthesia in order to have this procedure performed and upon waking, are often tearful and agitated. In this study, acupuncture needles were placed at LI-4 and HT-7 immediately after anesthesia, but prior to ear tube placement.

A blinded assessor than determined that pain and agitation were significantly lower in the acupuncture group compared with controls during the 30 minutes after surgery. Furthermore, the number of patients who required analgesia was considerably lower in the acupuncture group than that in the control group.

Although promising, in order to be fully convinced of the effectiveness of acupuncture, further research by other groups in larger number of kids need to be performed.

BUT... because the risks and side effects are so nominal, it can't hurt to give it a try for those patients and families interested in doing so.

For full disclosure, I personally have no experience in providing acupuncture and I would suggest taking these research findings to a reputable and licensed acupuncturist to get this done in those who are interested.

Acupuncture management of pain and emergence agitation in children after bilateral myringotomy and tympanostomy tube insertion. Pediatric Anesthesia. Volume 19, Issue 11, pages 1096–1101, November 2009

Fauquier blog
Fauquier ENT

Dr. Christopher Chang is a private practice otolaryngology, head & neck surgeon specializing in the treatment of problems related to the ear, nose, and throat. Located in Warrenton, VA about 45 minutes west of Washington DC, he also provides inhalant allergy testing/treatment, hearing tests, and dispenses hearing aids.

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