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Schmerz. 2017 Oct;31(5):489-498. doi: 10.1007/s00482-017-0212-3.

[Is supplemental ear acupuncture for surgical tooth removal with local anesthesia effective? : A pilot study].

[Article in German]

Author information

Klinik für Schmerz- und Palliativmedizin, Katholisches Klinikum Lünen-Werne GmbH, Fakultät für Gesundheit - Private Universität Witten-Herdecke, Lünen, Deutschland.
Poliklinik für Chirurgische Zahn-, Mund- und Kieferheilkunde, Universitätsklinikum Bonn, Bonn, Deutschland.
Klinik für Anästhesiologie, GF Schmerzmedizin, Universitätsmedizin Göttingen, Georg-August-Universität, Göttingen, Deutschland.
Klinik für Anästhesiologie, Herzogin Elisabeth Hospital, Braunschweig, Deutschland.
Abteilung für Anästhesiologie, Intensivmedizin, Schmerzmedizin/Palliativmedizin, Zentrum für Schmerzmedizin, GFO CURA - Katholisches Krankenhaus im Siebengebirge, Schülgenstr.15, 53604, Bad Honnef, Deutschland.



The application of ear acupuncture can contribute to a reduction of acute pain. Data on the application of ear acupuncture following oral surgery in odontology is insufficient.


This study investigated the effectiveness of ear acupuncture as an auxiliary analgesic treatment in addition to local anesthesia for operative tooth removal.


In this prospective open non-randomized pilot study (in accordance with the CONSORT publication) 2 cohorts of 50 patients each with the indications for an operative tooth removal either with or without the application of ear acupuncture in addition to local anesthesia with articain were observed. Patients were allocated to the groups according to their preference. Pain intensity while resting and while chewing was recorded as the primary parameter for a period of 10 days. The secondary parameters were the subjective experience of anxiety and symptoms, such as headaches, dizziness and nausea.


The two groups did not differ significantly with respect to demographic variables or the use of local anesthetics. At the various measurement intervals, pain intensity while resting or chewing differed significantly between the two groups (ANOVA, p = 0.004, p = 0.007, respectively). Furthermore, the experience of anxiety (ANOVA, p = 0.0001), the number of patients taking analgesics (χ2-test, p = 0.017) and the total postoperative consumption of analgesics (t-test, 0.001) revealed significant differences. In both groups the numerical rating scales (NRS) for postoperative headaches, dizziness and nausea were low.


Despite a potential bias and methodological limitations of the study design, the results of this investigation suggest that ear acupuncture influences the experience of pain and anxiety in the postoperative period after tooth removal. As a treatment method with low adverse effects ear acupuncture can contribute to postoperative pain control, especially in patients with preoperative anxiety.


Anxiety reduction; Ear acupuncture; Postoperative pain; Surgical tooth removal

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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