Should you seek acupuncture around surgery?
There are times when surgery is necessary, and we often get questions from our patients regarding the use of acupuncture before and after surgery. In most cases, acupuncture is a great option to help ease symptoms before and after surgery, as well as to help you heal from your procedure.
Break it down
Here’s a little break down of how we use acupuncture to foster the most comfortable and healthy surgical experience.
- Managing pain pre-procedure – The most common reason people receive surgery is because something hurts! And unless you’re receiving an emergency procedure, you’ll likely have to wait days or weeks from your time of diagnosis to your procedure. Although it won’t be able to repair the damaged structures causing your issue, acupuncture can help decrease your body’s pain signaling and tissue inflammation, which will do a lot to relieve your pain. Whether it’s from a shoulder injury, a colon issue, a car accident, or anything in between, if you’re in pain, acupuncture is a good option to help keep you comfortable until your procedure.
- Decreasing the side effects of anesthetics/analgesics and recovering quicker from them – Another reason we see our patients before and after surgery is to help the body process the drugs needed for anesthesia and analgesia. These drugs that “put you to sleep” during surgery can have quite a few side effects, such as nausea, constipation dizziness and confusion. Acupuncture supports your liver’s ability to process these drugs and eliminate them from your body, so that you return to feeling “normal” quicker. It can also encourage bowels to move that have been slowed by analgesics, which naturally relieves constipation.
- Wound healing and procedure recovery – Acupuncture has been shown to decrease post-procedural wound healing time and increase range of motion. It decreases systemic inflammation and upregulates your immune response so that the efforts your body is making to repair itself become even more effective and quicker. This anti-inflammatory effect will also extend to any joints that have been operated on, allowing them to move more comfortably when they are ready.
- Managing stress – Regardless of the type of procedure you’re preparing for, and how your body is feeling, anticipating surgery can cause its own anxieties – about the procedure itself, the recovery, taking time off work, taking care of your responsibilities while you recover, etc. Acupuncture is especially helpful to calm your mind and body in these moments so that you can approach your procedure and the decisions surrounding it from a healthy emotional state.
Building your healthcare team
Here at Maryville Acupuncture, we’re committed to serving as part of your healthcare team. When you’re anticipating a procedure, we always request that you inform your surgeon’s team that you’re receiving acupuncture.
We’re happy to answer any question you — or your surgeon — may have regarding the safety and efficacy of acupuncture in respect to your procedure.
Sang In Park, Yun-Young Sunwoo, Yu Jin Jung, et al., “Therapeutic Effects of Acupuncture through Enhancement of Functional Angiogenesis and Granulogenesis in Rat Wound Healing,” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, vol. 2012, Article ID 464586, 10 pages, 2012. https://doi.org/10.1155/2012/464586.
Jung, Se Yun et al. “Effect of Acupuncture on Postoperative Ileus after Distal Gastrectomy for Gastric Cancer.” Journal of gastric cancer vol. 17,1 (2017): 11-20. doi:10.5230/jgc.2017.17.e2