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Integr Med Res. 2017 Dec;6(4):427-433. doi: 10.1016/j.imr.2017.09.003. Epub 2017 Sep 19.

Development of an ultrasound-imaging procedure and acquisition of ultrasound images of acupuncture points for safety and accuracy of needle insertion.

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Research & Development, Korea Institute of Oriental Medicine, Daejeon, Korea.
Department of Rehabilitation Medicine of Korean Medicine, College of Korean Medicine, Wonkwang University, Iksan, Korea.
Department of Diagnostics, College of Korean Medicine, Wonkwang University, Iksan, Korea.
Department of Meridian & Acupoint, College of Korean Medicine, Wonkwang University, Iksan, Korea.
Department of Medical Non-Commissioned Officer, Wonkwang Health Science, Iksan, Korea.



Acupuncture is a relatively safe, commonly used "alternative" medical treatment for various symptoms. However, adverse effects can occur, including trauma, pneumothorax, and central-nervous-system injury. Our objective was to develop a reliable and practical procedure for ultrasound imaging of acupuncture points to improve safety during needling, and to acquire ultrasound images of several (44) acupuncture points, especially those in high-risk areas, according to an in-house standard operating procedure.


We created the standard operating procedure for ultrasound imaging for acupuncture, and collected ultrasound images of acupuncture points in clinical trials.


Ultrasound images for 44 acupuncture points considered as high-risk points were collected from 85 healthy people who were classified by body-mass index, and high-quality, clear representative images of all 44 points were obtained.


These baseline images could be helpful for understanding the anatomy under the skin at acupuncture points, which would allow for an enhanced safety and more accurate needling.


acupuncture methods; trauma; ultrasonography

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