The effect of transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation on post-thoracotomy pain

Contemp Nurse. 2015 Oct-Dec;51(2-3):163-70. doi: 10.1080/10376178.2016.1166971. Epub 2016 Apr 11.


Background: Pain guidelines suggest transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) as a reliable analgesic method in postoperative pain.

Objectives: This study was conducted as a randomized controlled study to determine the effect of TENS on postoperative pain and analgesic consumption in patients who have undergone posterolateral thoracotomy (PLT).

Design: The study was conducted in the Thoracic Surgery Clinic of a university hospital with 40 patients (test group: 20, control group: 20) and its power was 99%. While, test group patients were administered TENS, the control group patients were not. The pain assessment and analgesic consumption in both groups were recorded.

Results: The pain levels and analgesic consumption of the test group were lower than that of the control group (p < .05).

Conclusions: TENS reduced PLT pain and analgesic consumption. Thus, TENS can be recommended as an easy and reliable analgesic method in PLT.

Keywords: TENS; analgesics; nurse; pain; thoracotomy.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Analgesics / administration & dosage
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain, Postoperative / therapy*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Thoracotomy / adverse effects*
  • Transcutaneous Electric Nerve Stimulation*
  • Young Adult


  • Analgesics