A systematic review by authors at Stanford University’s Department of Medicine and the University of Bologna, has concluded that acupuncture and electrotherapy can reduce opioid consumption after total knee replacement (arthroplasty). A total of 39 randomised trials involving almost 2400 patients, were examined. The trials studied a variety of drug-free interventions including passive motion, preoperative exercise, cryotherapy, electrotherapy and acupuncture. Moderate-certainty evidence showed that acupuncture reduced and delayed opioid use, as did electrotherapy. There was also low-certainty evidence that acupuncture improved pain, based on patients’ visual analogue scores. None of the other therapies showed any significant effect on pain or opioid use.
(Drug-Free Interventions to Reduce Pain or Opioid Consumption After Total Knee Arthroplasty: A Systematic Review & Meta-analysis. Journal of the American Medical Association Surgery, 18 October 2017.)