Pop Goes the Lung

Pop Goes the Lung

There is a letter to Acupuncture in Medicine entitled Pneumothorax complication of deep dry needling demonstration. Pneumothorax, popping a lung,  is a rare but well described complication of acupuncture. I almost feel sorry for the practitioner as in the accompanying video he keeps emphasizing the care that must be done in order to avoid just that complication. Then you see the needle abruptly goes really deep. Pop.

Procedures, even useless procedures, have complications. It happens. But watch the video for the most god-awful adherence to infection control you could ever want to see.


  • No gloves.

  • No sterilization of the site where the needle is going to go.

  • His ungloved hands wander all over the patients back.

  • He uses the tube in which the sterile needle sits as a pointer, touching his finger with it

  • As he manipulates the needle up and down in the skin it bows, evidently bouncing against his other hand.

  • And the coup de grace: after taking out the needle he covers bloody spot with his bare finger.


And this from a practitioner of 45 years experience teaching others how to do dry needling. I cannot tell from the video if hands were washed before the procedure. I bet not. It sure gives me the Infection Control Willies.

A lack of adherence to even basic infection control is standard operating procedure in the world of acupunctures and does not surprise me. I can understand showing the video to teach how not to puncture lungs, but why would you document such profound incompetence with infection control?

Points of Interest: 09/25/2014
Points of Interest: 09/23/2014