J Korean Med Sci.  2003 Oct;18(5):756-757. 10.3346/jkms.2003.18.5.756.

Retroperitoneal Abscess Complicated by Acupuncture: Case Report

  • 1Department of Surgery, University of Ulsan Medical College, Gangneung Asan Hospital, Gangneung, Korea. ypcho@gnah.co.kr
  • 2Department of Surgery, University of Ulsan Medical College, Seoul Asan Hospital, Seoul, Korea.


With acupuncture treatment becoming an increasingly popular analgesic, there have been increasing reports on its associated complications. Although pneumothorax is the most frequently reported injury caused by acupuncture needles, infectious complications may not be uncommon. Most infectious complications show less serious clinical manifestations than pneumothorax, but retroperitoneal or intraabdominal abscess caused by acupuncture may be much more serious conditions. We experienced a 56-yr-old male diabetic patient presenting with serious retroperitoneal abscess after acupuncture treatments. Emergency operative drainage with adequate antibiotic therapy was performed. Bacterial culture of blood and closed pus specimens recovered Klebsiella pneumoniae. In addition to application of better knowledge on anatomy, appropriate antiseptic practice by practitioners will reduce many serious complications associated with acupuncture.


Acupuncture; Complications; Retroperitoneal Space; Abscess

MeSH Terms

Abdominal Abscess/radiography
Acupuncture Therapy/*adverse effects
Anti-Bacterial Agents/*therapeutic use
Diabetes Mellitus/complications
Klebsiella Infections/*diagnosis/therapy
Klebsiella pneumoniae/*metabolism
Middle Aged
Tomography, X-Ray Computed

Cited by  2 articles

Multiple Psoas Abscess Formation after Pharmacopuncture -A Case Report-
Eun Hye Koo, Sang Sik Choi, Dong Hun Chung, Il Ok Lee, Nan Sook Kim, Sang Ho Lim
Korean J Pain. 2010;23(4):270-273.    doi: 10.3344/kjp.2010.23.4.270.

A Case of Deep Neck Infection and Spinal Cord Abscess Related With Acupuncture
Junsuk Kim, Seul Kim, Joo Hyun Woo
Korean J Otorhinolaryngol-Head Neck Surg. 2022;65(2):112-115.    doi: 10.3342/kjorl-hns.2021.00255.

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