April 13, 2015

Acupuncture Helps with Tonsillectomy Pain

Back in 2013, I blogged how acupuncture may help with pain after tonsillectomy in children [link]. This was based on a study by Dr. Ochi published in Dec 2013 on 56 children. Another study has been published in April 2015 on 59 children by a different group of researchers which support Dr. Ochi's findings as well as another in 2019 found acupuncture helpful in adults.

Although no significant differences in the amount of opioid medications administered or total post-anesthesia care time was found between the placebo and study cohorts, home surveys of patients (but not of parents) revealed significant improvements in pain control as well as earlier improvement in oral intake in the acupuncture treatment group.

In the 2015 paper, the acupuncture points used are shown in the diagram below.

Image taken from Research Paper

The 2013 research paper used different acupuncture points shown in the following diagram:

Image taken from the Research Paper

Perhaps the next study should try to determine which acupuncture points work the best!

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.

Watch a video showing how a tonsillectomy is performed here!

Intraoperative acupuncture for posttonsillectomy pain: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Laryngoscope. 2015 Apr 7. doi: 10.1002/lary.25252. [Epub ahead of print]

Acupuncture instead of codeine for tonsillectomy pain in children. International Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology Volume 77, Issue 12 , Pages 2058-2062, December 2013

Auricular acupuncture for adult tonsillectomy. Laryngoscope. 2019 Oct 11. doi: 10.1002/lary.28338. [Epub ahead of print]

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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