Acupuncture-Point Stimulation for Postoperative Pain Control: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials

Xian Liang Liu, Jing Yu Tan, Alexandros Molasiotis, Kwai Ping Lorna Suen, Yan Shi

Research output: Journal article publicationReview articleAcademic researchpeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of Acupuncture-point stimulation (APS) in postoperative pain control compared with sham/placebo acupuncture or standard treatments (usual care or no treatment). Only randomized controlled trials (RCTs) were included. Meta-analysis results indicated that APS interventions improved VAS scores significantly and also reduced total morphine consumption. No serious APS-related adverse effects (AEs) were reported. There is Level I evidence for the effectiveness of body points plaster therapy and Level II evidence for body points electroacupuncture (EA), body points acupressure, body points APS for abdominal surgery patients, auricular points seed embedding, manual auricular acupuncture, and auricular EA. We obtained Level III evidence for body points APS in patients who underwent cardiac surgery and cesarean section and for auricular-point stimulation in patients who underwent abdominal surgery. There is insufficient evidence to conclude that APS is an effective postoperative pain therapy in surgical patients, although the evidence does support the conclusion that APS can reduce analgesic requirements without AEs. The best level of evidence was not adequate in most subgroups. Some limitations of this study may have affected the results, possibly leading to an overestimation of APS effects.
Original languageEnglish
Article number657809
JournalEvidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Complementary and alternative medicine

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