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Laryngoscope. 2016 Aug;126(8):1761-7. doi: 10.1002/lary.25883. Epub 2016 Feb 10.

The effect of acupuncture on postoperative nausea and vomiting after pediatric tonsillectomy: A meta-analysis and systematic review.

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Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine, Chonbuk National University, Jeonju.
Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, College of Medicine, Chonbuk National University, Jeonju.
Research Institute of Clinical Medicine of Chonbuk National University-Biomedical Research Institute of Chonbuk National University Hospital, Jeonju.
Department of Otorhinolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Seoul National University College of Medicine and Seoul National University Hospital, Seoul, Republic of Korea.



Tonsillectomy is one of the most frequently performed pediatric surgical procedures worldwide. The complications of this procedure include postoperative nausea and vomiting (PONV) and pain; therefore, both the treatment and prevention of PONV are important. Classical antiemetics include drug therapies such as ondansetron, which are undesirable because they often carry a high cost and several side effects. Therefore, in this study we aimed to evaluate the antiemetic effect of acupuncture after pediatric tonsillectomy.


We searched for eligible articles that reported on the antiemetic effects of acupuncture after tonsillectomy using the three databases, MEDLINE, Embase, and Cochrane, through July 2015. We included full-length original articles with adequate data for evaluating the antiemetic effects on pediatric tonsillectomy in the form of a relative ratio. The Newcastle-Ottawa scale was used to assess the quality of case control and cohort studies, and the Cochrane risk of bias tool was employed for randomized controlled trials (RCTs).


The search identified 415 publications. After screening, we selected eight articles for review (4 RCTs, 3 prospective cohorts, and 1 pilot study). A meta-analysis of acupuncture in pediatric tonsillectomy revealed that the number of patients with PONV was significantly reduced with acupuncture compared to the control group, with a risk ratio of 0.77 (95% confidence interval: 0.63-0.94, P < 0.05).


When acupuncture at PC6 (neiguan) was used to prevent PONV after pediatric tonsillectomy, the risk ratio was significantly lower compared to that of conventional drug therapy. Although further randomized controlled trials are needed, acupuncture at PC6 is considered an economic and effective treatment for emesis after pediatric tonsillectomy. Laryngoscope, 126:1761-1767, 2016.


Postoperative nausea and vomiting; acupuncture; tonsillectomy

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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