Acupuncture & Pain:Breast Surgery

Acupuncture Reduces Pain After Breast Surgery [10/16/2001; ScienceDaily]

NEW ORLEANS -- Acupuncture is just as effective as the leading medication used to reduce nausea and vomiting after major breast surgery, according to a new study conducted by Duke University Medical Center researchers.

The 5,000-year-old Chinese practice also decreased postoperative pain in these women, they report.

Based on strong trends emerging during the course of their ongoing clinical trial, the Duke researchers believe acupuncture is an effective antiemetic (a drug that reduces nausea and vomiting) that is less expensive and has fewer side effects than medications currently used.

"Up to 70 percent of women who undergo major breast surgery experience significant postoperative nausea and vomiting, so it is an important medical issue," said lead investigator and Duke anesthesiologist Dr. Tong Joo (T.J.) Gan.

"We've known from previous studies that acupuncture can be an effective antiemetic when compared to placebo, but it has never been tested against one of the most commonly used medications ondansetron (Zofran)," Gan continued.

"Acupuncture turns out to be just as effective as the drug or better, and our patients also reported much less pain after surgery, a finding that surprised us."

Gan presented the results of his team's study today (Oct. 15) during the annual scientific sessions of the American Society of Anesthesiologists.

The study enrolled 40 women who were undergoing major breast surgery (breast augmentation, breast reduction or mastectomy) requiring general anesthesia. The procedures lasted between two and four hours, and most women were discharged after spending the night in the hospital.

Acupuncture Aids Nausea After Surgery

Duke University Study presented at Am Soc Anasthesiologists, 11/01

Univ of Vermont Confirms Acupuncture Effect

J Applied Physiology, 2/02

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