A systematic review by American authors has concluded that acupuncture and electrotherapy can reduce opioid consumption after total knee arthroplasty. Thirty-nine randomised trials (2391 patients), which examined the use of various drug-free interventions (passive motion, preoperative exercise, cryotherapy, electrotherapy and acupuncture), were included in their meta-analysis. Moderate-certainty evidence showed that electrotherapy reduced the use of opioids and that acupuncture delayed opioid use. There was also low-certainty evidence that acupuncture improved pain, based on visual analogue scores. None of the other therapies studied showed any significant effects on either pain or opioid use.
Drug-Free Interventions to Reduce Pain or Opioid Consumption After Total Knee Arthroplasty: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. JAMA Surg. 2017 Aug 16:e172872.