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X-ray reveals hundreds of acupuncture needles left in woman's knees

acupuncture needles in knees
acupuncture needles in knees
The New England Journal of Medicine

When doctors examined a woman who complained of severe joint pain they found out the reason for her pain - needles - hundreds of acupuncture needles stuck in her knee tissue.

LiveScience reported Monday, the 65-year-old South Korean woman had previously been diagnosed with osteoarthritis, a degrading of the cartilage and bones within the joints. When pain relievers and anti-inflammatories didn't help the pain, she tried acupuncture.

Acupuncture is a practice where needles are used to stimulate certain points on the body, to alleviate pain or to treat various diseases.

In the woman's acupuncture treatment, the needles, made of gold were intentionally left in her tissue for continued stimulation.

Dr. Ali Guermazi, from Boston University wasn't involved with the case tells LiveScience that leaving objects in the body can lead to inflammation, abscesses and infection.

He says, "The human body wants to get rid of the foreign object. It starts with some mechanism of defense, for example inflammation and forming [fibrous tissue] around the object."

According to a survey by the U.S. National Institutes of Health's National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, in the United States, an estimated 3.1million U.S. adults and 150,000 children were treated with acupuncture in 2007.

If done properly, acupuncture can be beneficial for some people. It's best to discuss this treatment with your doctor before trying it.

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