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Plast Reconstr Surg. 2010 Mar;125(3):989-94. doi: 10.1097/PRS.0b013e3181ccdc23.

The effect of electroacustimulation on postoperative nausea, vomiting, and pain in outpatient plastic surgery patients: a prospective, randomized, blinded, clinical trial.

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Division of Plastic Surgery, University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics and NorthShore University HealthSystem, Madison, Wisconsin, USA.



Current rates of postoperative nausea and vomiting experienced by outpatient surgery patients are as high as 20 to 30 percent. Electroacustimulation therapy has been demonstrated to be effective in controlling these symptoms, but trials identifying its efficacy in the outpatient surgery population are lacking.


One hundred twenty-two patients undergoing surgical procedures at an outpatient surgery center were randomized to two treatment arms. The first arm received the standardized pharmacologic postoperative nausea and vomiting prevention typical for patients undergoing outpatient surgery, whereas in the second arm, the ReliefBand and pharmacologic measures were used. The ReliefBand is a U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved electroacustimulation device. Electroacustimulation is a derivative of acupuncture therapy that uses a small electrical current to stimulate acupuncture points on the human body and is thought to relieve nausea, vomiting, and pain. Outcomes measured were pain and nausea symptoms, emetic events, the need for rescue medications, and the time to discharge.


The electroacustimulation arm reported statistically significant lower nausea scores at 30 minutes and 120 minutes postoperatively (p < 0.05). In addition, subgroup analysis demonstrated significant findings in favor of the experimental group, with anatomical subsets of surgical patients requiring less pain medication and shorter times from surgery to discharge when compared with the standard treatment. However, electroacustimulation did not have a significant effect on the amount of pain experienced by patients in any group.


The authors' study demonstrates that electroacustimulation offers added protection against symptoms of postoperative nausea and vomiting in an outpatient cosmetic surgery population, representing a safe and cost-effective addition to current pharmacologic preventive measures.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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