BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Medical Policy Manual

Auricular Electrostimulation

DESCRIPTION

Auricular electrostimulation or auricular electroacupuncture devices involve the stimulation of acupuncture points on the ear by using an electrical pulse rather than a needle or wire. These devices (e.g. AcuStim®, P-Stim™, e-Pulse® UH 900, Elexoma™ Medic, CES Ultra™, NSS-2 Bridge) are worn behind either one or both ears with a pre-programed pulse duration and frequency with an electrode patch placed over the acupuncture points. They have been developed to provide ambulatory electrical stimulation over a period of several days.

Auricular electrostimulation has been proposed as a treatment for a variety of conditions, including the treatment of acute pain from surgical procedures, chronic back pain, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, neck pain, insomnia, anxiety, opioid withdrawal, and obesity.

POLICY

See also:  

IMPORTANT REMINDERS

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

There is a lack of evidence to evaluate the effect of auricular stimulation to improve acute and/or chronic pain or any other conditions or to improve health outcomes.

SOURCES

BlueCross BlueShield Association. Medical Policy Reference Manual. (2:2017). Cranial electrotherapy stimulation and auricular electrostimulation (8.01.58). Retrieved January 4, 2018 from BlueWeb. (18 articles and/or guidelines reviewed)

Laing, Y., Xu, B., Zang, X., Zong, L., and Chen, Y. (2014, March) Comparative study on effects between electroacupuncture and auricular acupuncture for methamphetamine withdrawal syndrome. Chinese Acupuncture Journal, 34(3), 219-24. Abstract retrieved January 4, 2018 from PubMed database.

Miranda, A. and Taca A. (2017, February) Neuromodulation with percutaneous electrical nerve field stimulation is associated with reduction in signs and symptoms of opioid withdrawal: a multisite, retrospective assessment. The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, 44(1), 56-63. (Level 4 evidence)

Michalek-Sauberer, A., Heinzl, H., Sator-Katzenschlager, S. M., Monov, G., Knolle, E. & Kress, H. G. (2007). Perioperative auricular electroacupuncture has no effect on pain and analgesic consumption after third molar tooth extraction. Ambulatory Anesthesia, 104, 542-547. (Level 2 evidence - Independent)

Schukro, R., Heiserer, C., Michalek-Sauberer, A., Gleiss, A., and Sator-Katzenschlager, S. (2014, February) The effects of auricular electroacupuncture on obesity in female patients--a prospective randomized placebo-controlled pilot study.Complimentary Therapies in Medicine, 22(1), 21-25. Abstract retrieved January 4, 2018 from PubMed database.

U. S. Food and Drug Administration. (2009, December) Center for Devices and Radiologic Health. 510(k) Premarket Notification Database K09187S (E-pulse™). Retrieved March 7, 2016 from http://www.fda.gov.

U. S. Food and Drug Administration. (2006, March) Center for Devices and Radiologic Health. 510(k) Premarket Notification Database K050123 (AcuStim®). Retrieved January 4, 2018 from http://www.fda.gov.

Yeh, C., Chiang, Y., Hoffman, S., Liang, Z., Klem, M., Tam, W., et al. (2014). Efficacy of auricular therapy for pain management: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2014, Article 934670. (Level 2 evidence - Independent)

ORIGINAL EFFECTIVE DATE:  2/12/2012

MOST RECENT REVIEW DATE:  2/8/2018

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Policies included in the Medical Policy Manual are not intended to certify coverage availability. They are medical determinations about a particular technology, service, drug, etc. While a policy or technology may be medically necessary, it could be excluded in a member's benefit plan. Please check with the appropriate claims department to determine if the service in question is a covered service under a particular benefit plan. Use of the Medical Policy Manual is not intended to replace independent medical judgment for treatment of individuals. The content on this Web site is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice in any way. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider if you have questions regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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