Friday, June 13, 2008
Medical Reports: Acupuncture
For centuries, acupuncture has been used for its pain-relieving benefits. Now, doctors are using the therapy in a setting where pain management is crucial during surgery.
WSVN -- Lauren Hennessey is being prepped for surgery, but along with the common drugs, she's getting acupuncture.
Duke University anesthesiologist T. J. Gan says acupuncture sparks the release of natural painkillers in the body, making pain medication work more effectively.
Dr. T.J. Gan, MD Anesthesiologist: "We have found that by using acupuncture, you can potentially reduce the amount of painkillers that you otherwise would need to use during surgery, as well as in some studies suggest that acupuncture can also reduce the amount of anesthetic that you need to provide for the patients."
And fewer drugs means fewer side effects.
Lauren Hennessey, Had acupuncture: "I never vomited, I was nauseous for very shortly and my pain was very minimal."
Dr. Gan says the pain relieving benefits may last far longer than the effects of any drugs.
Dr. T.J. Gan: "There is also increasing evidence to suggest that this will prevent longer-term pain problems."
But Dr. Gan cautions that while acupuncture provides a great new option for patients, it should only be used as a complement to anesthesia.
Dr. T.J. Gan: "For most of the conditions, I think we still need powerful drugs to control pain, but I think acupuncture would be a very useful addition to that regimen."
Christine Cruz: "Acupuncture for surgery pain is now being used at Duke University, Yale, Stanford and Massachusetts General, among others."
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