IPOH – The use of acupuncture in surgery to reduce pain or known as acupuncture-assisted anaesthesia (AAA) would be extended to other hospitals in the country, said Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam.
He said to date, this Chinese traditional medical procedure had only been used at Raja Permaisuri Bainun Hospital (HRPB), here, Selayang Hospital and Putrajaya Hospital.
Since AAA was introduced in 2011, he said, 22 surgeries for various illnesses had been conducted using the procedure.
“Surgeries that have been performed using AAA included excision of breast lumps, cranioplasty, craniotomy and drainage of brain abscess, thyroid surgery, lymph node excision, removal of chemoport and lipoma excision,” he said at a news conference after listening to a briefing on the procedure at HRPB’s Day Treatment Complex, here.
Subramaniam then visited the Day Treatment Ward at the hospital’s Emergency and Trauma Department.
“Among the advantages of AAA are that the patient can return home after the surgery, pain reduction during surgery and the patient is conscious during surgery,” he said.
“These help to speed up the post-surgery recovery, and the procedure can be used in certain situations as an alternative to the usual surgical procedure.
“Besides that, this method does not involve a high cost and patients don’t have to stay long in hospital, hence saving some costs for the hospital.”
Dr Subramaniam said the government, meanwhile, was looking into exploring and expanding the use of acupuncture in managing patients, especially those requiring surgery.
“This includes improving staff competencies through appropriate training and exploring the use of acupuncture as a non-pharmacological treatment for post-operative pain.
“To promote safe and quality services, the ministry has drawn up a standard operating procedure (SOP) for AAA, pre-operative assessment and preparation of patients, monitoring and post-operative management of patients.
“The ministry will also be conducting multicentre studies and audits in our hospitals in establishing the outcome of AAA,” he said.
Dr Subramaniam said that in 2011, Malaysia and China signed a memorandum of understanding to forge cooperation in the area of Chinese traditional medicine (CTM) and accreditation for CTM specialists.
“We bring in the experts from China to provide suitable training for our doctors in exploring the use of acupuncture in our medical practice,” he said. – BERNAMA