Acupuncture may be playing a role in the future in easing pain during surgery, said Dr. Lai. This idea became more apparent after a minor surgery to remove a thyroid nodule from a patient was successfully done with only acupuncture and minimal local anesthesia at the Raja Permaisuri Bainun Hospital (RPBH) in Ipoh last month. “It was a great success,” said the Health Minister, adding that more surgeons needed to be trained in the procedure before it could be introduced to other hospitals.
Putrajaya Hospital surgical department head and consultant breast and endocrine surgeon Dr Abdullah said the acupuncture anesthesia at RPBH was the first done in Malaysia. Dr. Hisham, who performed the surgery, said needles were inserted at a few acupuncture points in the neck and around the patient’s wrists, and mild electric currents were introduced to numb the patient throughout the surgery.
Dr. Hisham continued by stating that the surgery only took 35minutes and only a small dose of local drug medicine was used to block the contractions of the muscles. Dr. Hisham states that the 65 year old patient was feeling good after the surgery and was able to be discharged form the hospital after only four (4) hours.
Dr. Hisham said that while using acupuncture would not completely replace the use of Western Medicine science, it is inline with the pain-free hospital concept introduced last year. “A pain-free hospital encourages minimally-invasive procedures, optimum or adequate analgesics, and acupuncture to achieve better pain control,” said Dr. Hisham.
In China, acupuncture anesthesia has been used for heart, brain, and breast surgeries.