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Acupuncture for postprostatectomy incontinence: a systematic review
  1. Huan Chen1,
  2. Yu Liu1,2,
  3. Jiani Wu1,
  4. Fanrong Liang3 and
  5. Zhishun Liu1
  1. 1 Acupuncture Department, Guang’anmen Hospital, China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences, Beijing, China
  2. 2 Department of Scientific Research Management, China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences, Beijing, China
  3. 3 Acupuncture Moxibustion and Tuina School, the 3rd Teaching Hospital, Chengdu University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Chengdu, China
  1. Correspondence to Dr Zhishun Liu, Acupuncture Department, Guang’anmen Hospital, China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences, Beijing 100053, China; zhishunjournal{at}


Background Postprostatectomy incontinence (PPI) is a clinically significant condition that is caused by surgery of prostate. Study showed that electroacupuncture can reduce urine leakage among women with stress urinary incontinence (SUI), but few was known about its efficacy and safety for men with PPI. This study aims to conduct a systematic review to evaluate efficacy and safety of acupuncture for men with PPI compared with other non-surgical treatment.

Methods Seven databases were searched for all randomised controlled trials (RCTs) on acupuncture for men with PPI up to August 2020. Risks of bias of included studies were assessed using RevMan V.5.3. Narrative analysis was conducted.

Results Seven studies with 830 men with PPI were included in the review. Studies showed that acupuncture can significantly improve score of International Consultation on Incontinence Questionnaire-Urinary Incontinence Short Form for men with urgent urinary incontinence (UUI) when compared with medicine (p<0.05). It showed a significant better overall response rate when acupuncture was combined with solifenacin for men with UUI (p<0.05), or with pelvic floor muscle training (PFMT) (p<0.001), or with PFMT and medicine together for men with UUI or SUI (p<0.01), compared with control groups. No adverse event was reported in the studies. However, the quality of evidences was considered low generally.

Conclusion The results showed that acupuncture could be beneficial for men with PPI when applied alone or as an adjunction to other conservative therapies and medicines, however, the quality of evidence was considered low and inconclusive in this review.

PROSPERO registration number This study has been registered at PROSPERO system with ID No. CRD42019091164.

  • prostate
  • complementary therapy
  • incontinence
  • rehabilitation

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  • HC and YL contributed equally.

  • Correction notice This article has been updated since it was first published. The article type has been changed to Systematic review.

  • Contributors HC: project development, data analysis and manuscript writing. YL: data collection and analysis and manuscript writing. FL: project development, and manuscript review. JW and YL: data collection and analysis. ZL: project development, data analysis and critical review of the manuscript. All authors approve the final version of this manuscript to be published and agree to be accountable for all aspects of the work.

  • Funding This study was supported and funded by National Key Research and Development Program Project (2017YFC1703602) by the Ministry of Science and Technology of the People’s Republic of China.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Supplemental material This content has been supplied by the author(s). It has not been vetted by BMJ Publishing Group Limited (BMJ) and may not have been peer-reviewed. Any opinions or recommendations discussed are solely those of the author(s) and are not endorsed by BMJ. BMJ disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on the content. Where the content includes any translated material, BMJ does not warrant the accuracy and reliability of the translations (including but not limited to local regulations, clinical guidelines, terminology, drug names and drug dosages), and is not responsible for any error and/or omissions arising from translation and adaptation or otherwise.