Effects of electroacupuncture therapy on intractable facial paralysis: A systematic review and meta-analysis

PLoS One. 2023 Jul 13;18(7):e0288606. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0288606. eCollection 2023.


Objective: This systematic review and meta-analysis aimed to assessment effects of electroacupuncture (EA) therapy on intractable facial paralysis.

Methods: The articles of EA treatment for intractable facial paralysis were retrieved from seven databases, the publication period was from its inception to November 30, 2022. Primary measure was the total effective rate, and other measures included the cure rate, Portmann scores, House-Brackmann scores, Sunnybrook scores and adverse events. The effect size of meta-analysis was expressed using relative risk (RR) or standardized mean difference (SMD) with 95% confidence interval (CI).

Results: A total of 18 studies with 1,119 participants were included, all of them had various aspects of bias risk. Meta-analysis results revealed that EA ways improved total effective rate more effectively compared with non-EA counterparts (RR 1.23, 95% CI 1.17-1.31, I2 = 0%, 18 studies, 1119 participants), and improved cure rate more significantly than non-EA groups (RR 2.04, 95% CI 1.70-2.44, I2 = 0%, 18 studies, 1119 participants). None of studies reported adverse events.

Conclusion: EA therapy is more beneficial for patients with intractable facial paralysis than non-EA, but we lack sufficient evidence to evaluate its safety and follow-up effect. Therefore, more clinical trials with high quality methodologies are needed to further verify long-term effects of EA for IFP and improve the level of evidence.

Trial registration: Registration number: CRD42021278541.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Electroacupuncture* / methods
  • Facial Paralysis* / therapy
  • Humans

Grants and funding

This work was supported by Innovation Team Construction Project of Heilongjiang University of Chinese Medicine (2017sit01). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.