Background and purpose: Acupotomy and acupuncture are both treatments for knee osteoarthritis symptoms. However, acupotomy also has the additional anatomical effect of dissecting inflamed tissue. The problem this study aims to address is whether acupotomy is a better treatment than acupuncture in treating knee osteoarthritis. Methods: We searched the PubMed, Embase, Cochrane Library, China National Knowledge Infrastructure, Airiti Library, and Wanfang Data databases from inception to March 2022 for randomized controlled clinical trials (RCTs) comparing the effects of acupotomy and acupuncture in patients with knee osteoarthritis. Results: In total, we identified 43 RCTs in this meta-analysis. Compared to the acupuncture group, acupotomy had a higher cure rate (odds ratio (OR) 2.94, 95% confidence interval (CI) 2.36 to 3.65), indicating a better improvement in daily activity function. Acupotomy was also more effective in pain relief and knee score improvement. However, some RCTs indicated that adverse events in the acupotomy group were greater than in the acupuncture group (OR 1.23, 95% CI 0.42 to 3.60). Conclusion: Our findings indicated that acupotomy was a more effective treatment for knee osteoarthritis than acupuncture. However, most of the included RCTs had moderate risk of bias, meaning that more high-quality RCTs were needed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101712
JournalComplementary Therapies in Clinical Practice
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2023


  • Acupuncture
  • Acuputomy
  • Cure rate
  • Meta-analysis
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Systematic review

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Complementary and alternative medicine


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