Use of transcutaneous electrical stimulation in control of postoperative pain

A. M. Cooperman, B. Hall, E. S. Sadar, R. W. Hardy

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9 Scopus citations


Transcutaneous electrical stimulation has been reported to reduce postoperative incisional pain, ileus, and respiratory complications. This study was done to determine objectively whether the stimulator (Electronic Pain Controller) does significantly reduce postoperative pain and complications, and to assess the role of psychological or 'suggestive' factors as its mechanism of action. Pain relief was significantly better when stimulators with current were used, with the poorest response found in patients for whom stimulator without current was used. The latter required more than three daily doses of meperidine or objected to further use of the machine. There was no significant difference in the incidence of postoperative atelectasis or ileus regardless of which stimulator was used. Age, sex, and the type or length of operation were other insignificant factors in determining the response to the stimulators. Factors that may alter the effectiveness of this treatment were recent narcotic usage to control preoperative pain and preexisting anxiety in some patients, particularly when a preoperative suspicion of malignancy was confirmed at surgery. When stimulator with current was used, good to excellent results were obtained in 77% of cases, while the use of stimulators without current achieved a good result in only 34% of the cases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)77-78
Number of pages2
JournalSurgical Forum
VolumeVol. 26
StatePublished - 1975
Externally publishedYes


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