Purpose: Acupuncture treatment of patients waiting for arthroplasty surgery.
Methods: 29 patients with a total of 42 osteoarthritic knees were randomized to two groups. Group A was treated while Group B served as a no-treatment control group. After 9 weeks Group B was treated too. Analgesic consumption, pain and objective measurements were registered. All objective measures were done by investigators who were "blinded" as to Group A & B. In the second part of the study 17 patients (26 knees) continued with treatments once a month. Registration of analgesic consumption, pain and objective measurements continued. Total study period 49 weeks.
Results: Comparing Group A to B there was a significant reduction in pain, analgesic consumption and in most objective measures. In Group A + B combined there was an 80% subjective improvement, and a significantly increased knee range movement - an increase mainly in the worst knees. Results were significantly better in those who had not been ill for a long time. In the second part of the study, it was shown that it was possible to maintain the improvements.
Conclusions: Acupuncture can ease the discomfort while waiting for an operation and perhaps even serve as an alternative to surgery. Seven patients have responded so well that at present they do not want an operation. (USD 9000 saved per operation).