skip to main content









Donation Heart Ribbon

San Diego Study: Acupuncture Effective For Pain Management In Children After Tonsillectomy

Evening Edition

Aired 12/9/13 on KPBS Midday Edition.


James Ochi, M.D., ENT specialist

Farshad, Ahadian, M.D., clinical professor, anesthesiology, medicaldDirector — Center for Pain Medicine, UC San Diego


For some children the sight of needles at a doctor's office can leave them skittish, squrimy and sometimes squeeling. But when it comes to using acupuncture needles on children after a tonsillectomy, a new study by a San Diego surgeon has proven it's an effective alternative for drug-free pain management.


Acupuncture Instead of Codeine for Tonsillectomy Pain in Children

Acupuncture Instead of Codeine for Tonsillectomy Pain in Children

Dr. James Ochi, a San Diego Pediatric ENT surgeon study.

Download document

Download Acrobat Reader

In February 2013 the FDA banned the use of codeine in after tonsillectomies due to a risk of death in children. Codeine was the narcotic often prescribed post-tonsillectomy.

Dr. James Ochi'sstudy is published in the International Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolargngology. His study included treating 31 patients ranging from 2 to 17 years old with acupuncture treatment after tonsillectomy.

"I wanted to see if acupuncture without the use of narcotics would help my patients," he tells KPBS.

The results from his study show promise. He found patients or their parents reported a mean pain level of 5.52 out of 10. After about 15 minutes, Ochi reports their pain level dropped to 1.92.

A Harvard Medical School study also found acupuncture helped with pain management and agitation in children undergoing ear surgery including tube placement.

To view PDF documents, Download Acrobat Reader.


Avatar for user 'slink'

slink | December 9, 2013 at 1 p.m. ― 3 years, 3 months ago

Perhaps in the mid 1970's James Reston, an editorial columnist for the New York Times, was visiting China when he was disabled by appendicitis. Surgery occurred in China. In order to relieve the pain of open surgery, acupuncture was used to block the pain. Reston was conscious during the surgery and reported the experience when he returned to the US, The American Medical Association was outraged and claimed that he was hypnotized. The great shame of this is that thousands of years of Chinese medical experience is not even recognized by Western medicine. Instead of learning from the Chinese the Western Physicians, trained in diagnosis and treatment rather than cause and effect, rely on the drug companies for their information and treatments.

( | suggest removal )