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Journal of Integrative Medicine

   

Low-level laser acupuncture reduces postoperative pain and morphine consumption in older patients with total knee arthroplasty: A randomized placebo-controlled trial

Chiung-Hui Huang a, Mei-Ling Yeh b, Fang-Pey Chen c,d, Daphne Wu b   

  1. a Department of Nursing, Taipei Veterans General Hospital, Taipei City 11217, Taiwan, China
    b School of Nursing, National Taipei University of Nursing and Health Sciences, Taipei City 11219, Taiwan, China
    c Center for Traditional Medicine, Taipei Veterans General Hospital, Taipei City 11217, Taiwan, China
    d Scool of Nursing, National Taipei University of Nursing and Health Sciences and School of Medicine, Taipei City 11217, Taiwan, China
  • Received:2021-02-25 Accepted:2022-01-24 Published:2022-04-09
  • Contact: Mei-Ling Yeh E-mail:meiling@ntunhs.edu.tw

Background
Patients commonly develop postoperative pain after total knee arthroplasty (TKA). Acupuncture-related techniques and low-level laser therapy could be beneficial for pain management for older individuals.

Objective
To examine the effect of low-level laser acupuncture (LA) in reducing postoperative pain, pain-related interference in daily life, morphine consumption, and morphine-related side effects in older patients with knee osteoarthritis who underwent TKA.

Design, setting, participants and intervention
A single-blind randomized placebo-controlled trial was conducted. Patients (N = 82) were recruited and randomly assigned via a computer-generated list to the LA group or a placebo group. The LA group received low-level laser therapy at Sanyinjiao (SP6), Taixi (KI3), Kunlun (BL60), Fengshi (GB31), Futu (ST32) and Neiguan (PC6) after TKA, while the placebo acupuncture group received the same treatment procedure without laser energy output.

Main outcome measures
The primary outcome was postoperative pain intensity, and it was measured at baseline and hours 2, 6, 10, 24, 48 and 72 after TKA. The secondary outcomes, including relative pain, postoperative pain-related interference in daily life and morphine consumption, were measured at hours 24, 48 and 72 after TKA.

Results
Generalized estimating equations revealed significant between-group differences in pain intensity (P = 0.01), and trend differences in pain intensity for the LA group starting at hours 10 to 72 (P < 0.05) and morphine consumption at hours 48 and 72 (P < 0.05). The changes in pain-related interference in daily life were significant (P < 0.05) at 72 h, with the exception of the parameters for worst pain, mood, and sleep. Nausea and vomiting side effects from morphine had significant between-group differences at hours 10 and 24 (P < 0.05).

Conclusion

Low-level LA gradually reduced older patients’ postoperative pain intensity and morphine consumption within the first 72 h after their TKA for osteoarthritis. Low-level LA may have benefits as an adjuvant pain management technique for clinical care.


Trial registration

ClinicalTrials.gov registration number NCT03995446.

Key words: Acupuncture, Morphine, Low-level laser, Older patients, Osteoarthritis, Pain, Total knee arthroplasty, Randomized controlled trial

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