Doctor Jacqueline Blank and colleagues from Wisconsin conducted a study titled "Impact of Auricular Neurostimulation in Patients Undergoing Colorectal Surgery with an Enhanced Recovery Protocol: A Pilot Randomized, Controlled Trial." These authors presented a pilot trial of a novel neurostimulation device called BRIDGE, a percutaneous electrical nerve field stimulator functioning on 4 cranial nerves via their neural projections to the external ear. The aim of this pilot study was to determine the effects of the BRIDGE percutaneous nerve field stimulation device for patients recovering from colorectal surgery. This pilot study suggests that older patients and those with larger abdominal incisions may benefit from auricular neurostimulation.
This prospective, multicenter, randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled pilot trial was conducted at 2 institutions (Froedtert & The Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW), Milwaukee, WI; and Clement J. Zablocki Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VAMC), Milwaukee, WI) from December 2016 to March 2018. This study is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov (NCT02892513) and was approved by the institutional review boards at MCW and the VAMC. Written informed consent was obtained from each patient before the initiation of study procedures. This trial is reported according to CONSORT guidelines.
Although there was no difference in total narcotic consumption between active and inactive devices when the authors did a subgroup analysis, they found that there was a benefit for patients undergoing open surgery and when they stratified patients by decade they found that patients over 60 years old derived a benefit from the device compared with younger patients.
Video Abstract at http://links.lww.com/DCR/B452
ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT02892513
Impact of Auricular Neurostimulation in Patients Undergoing Colorectal Surgery with an Enhanced Recovery Protocol: A Pilot Randomized, Controlled Trial Diseases of the Colon & Rectum. 64(2):225-233, February 2021.
A related editorial is associated with the study: https://journals.lww.com/dcrjournal/Fulltext/2021/02000/Nerve_Stimulation_in_Postoperative_Pain_Management.2.aspx