Acupuncture gone awry: a case report of a patient who required surgical removal of two single-use filament needles following acupuncture treatment.
J Man Manip Ther. 2019 Apr 25;:1-5
Authors: Snyder DD
BACKGROUND: Acupuncture and dry needling are increasingly popular treatment modalities used to treat pain around the world. This case report documents the clinical history of a patient who presented to an outpatient physical therapy clinic following surgical removal of two single-use filament needles that fractured in the patient’s neck during acupuncture treatment.
CASE DESCRIPTION: The purpose of this case report was to highlight a rare adverse event following acupuncture treatment. The patient received the acupuncture treatment from a practitioner licensed in acupuncture, while on an international business trip. Following the acupuncture treatment, the practitioner realized that a needle had fractured and remained in the patient’s neck. After failing to retrieve the needle, the patient was sent for imaging. Radiograph revealed that the patient had two needle fragments located in his cervical tissue. After determining that the needles did not pose an immediate threat, the patient boarded a flight home to the United States. Following his flight, the patient presented to an American hospital where it was discovered that the needle fragments had migrated during the flight, with one needle now located 2 mm from the patient’s vertebral artery. Surgical intervention was required to retrieve the needles, resulting in the patient needing physical therapy to increase cervical range of motion and mediate pain relief.
OUTCOMES: The patient suffered a setback in his treatment of chronic neck pain that resulted in decreased cervical range of motion and increased pain.
DISCUSSION: Clinicians utilizing single-use filiform needles in their practice, whether for acupuncture or dry needling, should be aware of the potential for this type of adverse event. Further, to minimize the risk of similar adverse events occurring in the future, clinicians should make sure that they are using high quality needles and make a habit of counting in and counting out the needles that they use to verify that all needles are accounted for.
PMID: 31023177 [PubMed – as supplied by publisher]