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Minilaparotomy was performed using acupuncture analgesia on 78 female patients seeking voluntary sterilization to determine whether this could be used as a substitute for standard analgesic sedation. In 48 women (62%) no intravenous drug medication was required, and sterilization was successfully performed using only the local anaesthetic and acupuncture electrostimulation. These patients could be discharged within one hour of operation. For a developing country with a shortage of trained anaesthetists, acupuncture analgesia could prove to be a simple, safe and economical method, especially in a rural setting.