Acupuncture May Relieve Tonsillectomy Pain in Children

Acupuncture May Relieve Tonsillectomy Pain in Children
Acupuncture May Relieve Tonsillectomy Pain in Children

(HealthDay News) – Preliminary evidence indicates that acupuncture may decrease perceived pain in children and adolescents following tonsillectomy, according to a review published in the December issue of the International Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology.

James W. Ochi, MD, from Children's ENT of San Diego in Encinitas, Calif., conducted a retrospective review involving 56 children and adolescents who underwent tonsillectomy over a three-month period for whom no narcotics were prescribed after surgery. Patients were offered acupuncture for pain relief. The perceived pain level was evaluated before and after treatment.

Ochi found that, after tonsillectomy, 31 patients (aged 2–17 years) received an acupuncture intervention for pain. The mean reported pain level was 5.52 out of 10 before acupuncture, and dropped to 1.92 after acupuncture. The decline in pain reports were supported by statistical analysis, although there were limitations of the methodology and sample. Based on 17 patient reports, the mean duration of perceived acupuncture benefit was 61.24 hours; about 30% of patients each reported <3 hours, and >60 hours, of benefit. There were no adverse effects seen with acupuncture treatments.

"The data tentatively suggest that acupuncture decreases perceived pain in children and adolescents after tonsillectomy," Ochi writes. "These data – combined with the cost effectiveness, safety, and ease of administering acupuncture – suggest that further studies exploring the effectiveness of acupuncture in juveniles after tonsillectomy are merited."

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