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Acupuncture Treatment Reduced Phantom-Limb Pain and Sensation

Medical Acupuncture. Volume 25, Number 1, 2013. Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. DOI: 10.1089/acu.2012.0928

Synopsis: This study reviewed current publications to determine if acupuncture therapy had been shown to have a positive effect on the symptoms of phantom-limb syndrome. Avazzia technology, especially combined with the Avazzia MEAD, can be used as a needleless form of acupuncture. 

Background: Phantom-limb syndrome can significantly impact on amputees' quality of life and their functional capacity. Conventional treatment approaches have a poor rate of success in alleviating symptoms. Acupuncture has been advocated as an effective alternative treatment; however, there has not been a systematic review of the evidence base for this.

Objective: The aim of this review was to determine the effectiveness of acupuncture treatment in the management of phantom-limb syndrome.

Methods: This review comprised three phases: (1) an electronic database search to identify potential articles: (2) extraction of data from accepted articles; and (3) rating of internal validity and strength of the evidence provided in the accepted articles.

Outcome Measures: An Effective Public Health Practice Project quality assessment tool (quantitative studies), a Critical Appraisal Skills Programme quality assessment tool (qualitative studies), and Agency for Health Care Policy and Research guidelines (strength of evidence) were used to assess the evidence.

Results: Level C evidence showed acupuncture treatment reduced phantom-limb pain and sensation (14 studies), improved functional capacity or mobility (5 studies), and reduced levels of analgesic use (3 studies).

Conclusions: Acupuncture therapy has been shown to have a positive effect on the symptoms of phantom-limb syndrome. However, further investigations of superior quality are needed to support these findings and determine the most effective method of acupuncture for this purpose.