Magnetic stimulation lowers use of pain meds following gastric bypass surgery

I love the studies on repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS). It’s magnet therapy for the 21st century — sort of.

Here’s why the results of this latest study are important.

Any treatment that reduces the need for pain medicine in obese patients following gastric bypass surgery is important. These patients often have obstructive sleep apnea, right heart dysfunction, and pulmonary hypertension. And opioids can make these problems worse.

Here are the results of a new study of rTMS on pain med use in obese patients following surgery.

  • 20 gastric bypass patients randomly assigned to 20 minutes of active or sham left prefrontal rTMS immediately after surgery
  • Morphine use 40% less in patients treated with active prefrontal rTMS compared to sham rTMS during the 44 hours after surgery
  • Significant effects regardless of surgery type (open vs. laparoscopic)
  • The effect was most prominent during the first 24 hours after treatment
  • No effect on mood ratings.

It seems there is a potential new noninvasive method for managing postoperative morphine use.

10/1/06 23:12 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.