Effect of TENS on Vacuum Pain in Acute Soft Tissue Trauma

Pain Manag Nurs. 2023 Aug;24(4):e13-e17. doi: 10.1016/j.pmn.2023.02.001. Epub 2023 Mar 10.


Backround: In the literature, the effect of TENS on acute pain has been investigated, and no study has been found on its effect on pain associated with VAC application. This randomized controlled trial was designed to assess the efficacy of TENS application in pain caused by vacuum applied in acute soft tissue trauma of the lower extremity.

Design and settings: The study included 40 patients: 20 in the control group, and 20 in the experimental group and was carried out in a university hospital's plastic and reconstructive surgery clinic. Data for the study were gathered using the Patient Information form and the Pain Assessment form. Conventional TENS lasting 30 minutes was applied to the experimental group patients 1 hour before vacuum (vacuum assisted closure [VAC]) insertion and removal by the researcher, and TENS was not applied to the control group. The "Numerical Pain Scale" was used to assess pain in both groups before and after TENS application. In the statistical analysis of the data, the SPSS 23.0 package program was used. In all tests, p < .005 was considered statistically significant.

Results: The experimental and control groups of the patients included in the study were homogeneous in terms of demographic characteristics (p > .05). Furthermore, when the pain levels of the groups were compared over time, it was discovered that the pain levels of the control group were significantly higher than the experimental group at the times of VAC insertion (T3) and VAC removal (T6) (p < .05). Bonferroni test, one of the post hoc tests, was used to determine in-group significance in both the experimental and control groups, and it was discovered that the difference was between T6 and all other times (T6-T1, T2, T3, T4, T5).

Conclusions: The results obtained from our study showed that TENS reduced the pain caused by vacuum applied in acute soft tissue trauma of the lower extremity. It is thought that TENS may not replace traditional analgesics but may help reduce the level of pain and contribute to healing by increasing comfort during painful procedures.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acute Pain* / therapy
  • Humans
  • Lower Extremity
  • Wound Healing*