Acupuncture has been widely studied, and theories regarding its analgesic mechanism of action have been proposed. It has been used for procedural analgesia; however, no reports of its use in urologic surgery have been reported. In this case report, we demonstrate how acupuncture can be used as an alternative to general anesthesia for transurethral resection of bladder tumor (TURBT). This may serve as an attractive option for bladder cancer patients with medical comorbidities, which predispose them to high risk for general anesthesia. A 65-year-old Caucasian female with toxicant-induced loss of tolerance (TILT) was found to have a bladder mass. TURBT was discussed, and in light of her TILT syndrome, she elected to undergo the procedure with acupuncture in lieu of general anesthesia for fear of an adverse reaction. Acupuncture was performed by a trained practitioner with therapeutic needles placed in the ears, hands, abdomen, and lower extremities bilaterally. She was subsequently taken to the operating room where we performed a TURBT of a bladder tumor overlying the left ureteral orifice. The procedure was generally well tolerated and the patient experienced mild pain. There were no perioperative complications. The tumor was estimated to be 3 cm in largest diameter, and a total of 8 g of aggregate tissue was sent to our pathologists. Pathology analysis demonstrated adequate resection with detrusor muscle present in the sample. The bladder tumor was low-grade papillary urothelial cell carcinoma (Stage Ta). She has had tumor recurrence and has undergone repeat TURBT, but to date, she is 22 months free of bladder cancer. In this case report, we demonstrate that acupuncture is a safe and effective alternative to general anesthesia for patients undergoing TURBT. Since tobacco use is prevalent among bladder cancer patients, many of these individuals have associated medical comorbidities, which predispose them to high risk with general anesthesia. Therefore, acupuncture may serve as an attractive alternative for certain patients in this population.
Copyright 2019, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers.