Patient Attitudes Toward Acupuncture in the Perioperative Setting

Monica W. Harbell, Lindsay N. Barendrick, Lanyu Mi, Jaxon Quillen, Denise M. Millstine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Acupuncture is a potential treatment option for pain, nausea, vomiting, anxiety, and agitation in the perioperative period. Patient preference for participating in acupuncture in the perioperative period is not well understood. The aim of this study was to quantify patient interest in perioperative acupuncture, explore the relationship between acupuncture interest, insurance coverage and patient cost, and identify clinical factors associated with patient interest in acupuncture. Materials and Methods: Adult patients evaluated in the Preoperative Evaluation Clinic at the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix, AZ, between June 2019 and July 2019, received a voluntary survey to assess their attitudes toward receiving acupuncture in the perioperative period. Patient interest in acupuncture to help treat pain, anxiety, and postoperative nausea and vomiting, as well as their willingness to pay for such services, were assessed. Demographic data, American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) physical class, scheduled procedure, and insurance coverage were extracted from the medical record. Univariate analysis was performed to estimate interest in acupuncture. Results: Three hundred and seven respondents were included in this study with a response rate of 60.4%. A total of 68.4% of study participants were interested in receiving perioperative acupuncture. Of those interested in acupuncture, 86.7% were interested if acupuncture was offered at no cost (either free or fully covered by insurance). A total of 47.1% of those patients interested in acupuncture would be interested if the cost of acupuncture was between 20 and 50 U.S. dollars. A total of 8.6% would be interested in acupuncture if patients were expected to pay the full cost of treatment (estimated 175 U.S. dollars). Age, sex, ASA status, type of surgery, risk of procedure, and Medicare/Medicaid coverage were not statistically associated with interest in acupuncture. Conclusions: When there is little to no direct cost to the patient, the majority of patients are interested in acupuncture in the perioperative period.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)349-354
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Integrative and Complementary Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2022


  • acupuncture therapy
  • insurance coverage
  • integrative medicine
  • patient preference
  • perioperative period
  • postoperative pain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Complementary and alternative medicine


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