Clinicians in Hong Kong have found that electro-acupuncture (EA) treatment reduces both the duration of post-operative ileus (POI – hypomotility of the gastrointestinal tract following surgery) and length of hospital stay following laparoscopic surgery for colorectal cancer. In a prospective study, 165 cancer patients undergoing laparoscopy were assigned randomly to three groups, who received EA or sham acupuncture once daily from postoperative days one to four, or no acupuncture. The acupoints Zusanli ST-26, Sanyinjiao SP-6, Hegu L.I.-4 and Zhigou SJ-6 were used. Patients who received EA demonstrated a significantly shorter time to defecation than patients who received no acupuncture (85.9 hours versus 122.1 hours), as well as a shorter length of hospital stay (6.5 days versus 8.5 days). Patients who received EA also had a shorter time to defecation than patients who received sham acupuncture (85.9 hours versus 107.5 hours). EA was also found to be more effective than sham or no acupuncture in reducing postoperative analgesic requirement and time taken for patients to be able to walk again.
(Electroacupuncture Reduces Duration of Postoperative Ileus After Laparoscopic Surgery for Colorectal Cancer. Gastroenterology. 2012 Nov 6. pii:S0016-5085(12)01609-5).