Acupuncture Reduces Pain After Breast Surgery
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
"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
Gan presented the results of his team's study today (Oct. 15)
during the annual scientific sessions of the American Society
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.
Duke University Study
presented at Am Soc Anasthesiologists,
J Applied Physiology, 2/02
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