Acupunct Search


J Acupunct Res > Volume 33(1); 2016 > Article
Jo, Baatarkhuyag, Jo, Lee, and Lee: A Review of Research Trends in Gold Implantation Therapy Focused on Gold Thread, Gold Needle and Gold Bead
See the Original "".



The purpose of this study is to explore research trends in gold implantation therapy performed on the animal and human body, through a review of clinical studies focused on gold thread, gold needle and gold bead.


Medical databases, including Pubmed, CENTRAL, MEDLINE, EMBASE, RISS4u, KISTI, OASIS and KTKP, were searched for relevant articles published from their launch to December 31, 2015 using the key word ‘gold’ with ‘thread*’, ‘needle*’, ‘acupuncture*’, ‘wire*’, ‘bead*’, ‘embed*’, ‘ implant*’, or ‘insert*’. The results were classified into in vivo studies, clinical trials and clinical reports. Analysis of the results was conducted in several research areas, from the identity of studies such as nationality and published year, to the gold preparations-features and implanted locations and to the outcomes that reflect the clinically favorable or adverse effect of gold implantation therapy.


A total of 30 studies including 11 in vivo studies, 4 clinical trials and 15 case reports, were found in the search. We observed certain research trends according to the research time, nationality and target indication of the studies. The studies primarily revealed a chronic local inflammatory response which could be a useful mechanism for pain-relief in musculoskeletal diseases and facial rejuvenation. Researches concerning long-term reactions or adverse effects were rare.


The results show that the efforts to discover the level of clinical efficacy of gold implantation therapy were steady and worldwide. However, further researches on the longterm effect, and more importantly, the safety of gold implantation therapy are required.

Fig. 1
Flowchart of study selection process
*TKM = Traditional Korean Medicine.
Fig. 2
Published years of 30 articles
Fig. 3
Nationality of 30 articles
Table 1
Summary of 7 in vivo Studies about Gold Implantation Treatment on Animals
Study Subject Information Gold Preparation Intervention Comparison Outcome Results
SW Lee (1980, Korea) [9] Male rats A thread. 0.2×5 mm 1) BL23 (N=5)
2) GB30 (N=5)
No thread (N=5) Urine 17-KS Significantly increased only in the BL23 group (p<0.05).
Kidney Injury induced by HgCI2 BUN Not significantly decreased in the BL23 and GB30 group
Creatinine Not significantly decreased in the BL23 and GB30 group
HK Ko (1984, Korea) [10] Mice in healthy condition A thread, 0.2×5 mm 1) ST36 (N=6)
2) GB39 (N=6)
3) BL23 (N=6)
4) CV4 (N=6)
5) Ba feng (N=6)
No thread (N=6) Foot Volume Significantly reduced only in ST36 group (p<0.001)
Writhing test All of gold-implanted groups showed significant
Rats with paw edema induced by carrageenin Randall Selllito Test analgesic effect (p<0.01)
Forced Swim Test There was not any remarkable gulf among all 6 groups.
YP Hong (1988, Korea) [11] Male rats A Thread, 0.2×3 mm 1)CV4(N=10)
2) ST36 (N=10)
3) BL23 (N=10)
4) Combined (N=10)
1) No thread (N=10)
2) The Root of tail. (N=10)
Serum Testosterone Significantly increased in all of gold-implanted groups
Normal condition Serum Oestrogen Significantly decreased in BL23 and combined groups
HN Kim (1991, Korea) [4] Male rats A thread, 0.2×5 mm 1) Gold thread at BL23 (N=6)
2) Silver thread at BL23 (N=6)
1) Normal: Healthy rats, no thread (N=6)
2) Control: No thread (N=6)
Serum Cortisol The levels of serum Cortisol, Na+, 17-OHCS and adrenal weight were significantly increased only in group with gold thread compared to the others (p<0.01, p<0.05, p<0.001, p<0.02), but other results were not significant.
Serum Na+, K+
Induced Adrenal dysfunction Urine 17-KS
Urine 17-OHCS
Adrenal weight
HY Kim, (2009, US) [6] Male Rats A wire, 24 K, 0.15×25 mm, Implantation in forearm (N=10) (from SI8 to SI6) No gold wire (N=14) Bone regeneration The incidence of complete or partial union was much higher in the gold group (60 % vs 7 %, p<0.05).
Induced Ulnar bone defect Bone accumulation Significantly more extensive in the gold group (1.09 mm vs 0.35 mm, p<0.05)
Kl Lie (2011, Norway) [12] Dogs 3 beads, 24 K, 1×2 mm Periarticular insertion at 5 points around the head of femur No Histological features Chronic local inflammatory changes including lymphocyte infiltration and eosinophilic material containing were shown in all treated dogs, without a typical foreign body reaction
Hip OA
M. Kurita (2011, Japan) [13] Rats 1) Pure gold thread: 0.1×20 mm
2) Gold coated cog: Gold was coated over nonabsorbabale polypropylene. 0.54×20 mm
One of three threads
1) Pure gold thread
2) Polypropylene cog thread
3) Gold-coated polypropylene cog thread was inserted at the subcutaneous tissue of the back.
No Histological evaluation of capsule formation Acute tissue reactions were indicated to the regular cog thread involving myofibroblasts.
Normal condition Qualitative evaluation of thread capsules And delayed tissue reactions were indicated to the pure gold thread involving giant cells.
Number of αSMA-positive myofibroblasts The gold coated cog thread shows a combination of the histological reactions associated with the cog thread and the pure gold thread, including faint early reactions, strong delayed reactions, and long-lasting capsule formation
Table 2
Summary of 4 Veterinary Clinical Studies about Gold Implantation Treatment on Animals
Study Design Condition Gold preparation Intervention Control Outcomes Results
GT Jaeger (2006, Norway) [14] Animal RCT Dogs with Canine Hip Dysplasia 3 beads, 24 K, 1×2 mm, 35~40 mg. Peri-articular insertion at 5 points around the head of femur (N=38)
(The numbers of acupoints were assigned after their clockwise positions Point 3(GB30), 5, 7, 9(GB29), 12(BL54))
Placebo (N=42) Behavior improvement (Owner) The prevalence of dogs with improvements was significantly larger in the gold group at sixth months (30 of 36 vs 22 of 42, p<0.02)
Pain (Owner) Improved significantly at sixth months (5.6 to 1.9 vs 4.8 to 3.1, p<0.01)
Dysfunction (Owner) Score was improved significantly at sixth months (4.6 to 1.6 vs 4.1 to 2.4, p<0.03)
Pain (Veterinarian) Improved significantly at sixth months (4.4 to 3.4 vs 5.4 to 4.8, p<0.001)
Lameness (Veterinarian) Improved significantly at sixth months (−42.1 % vs −28.7 %)
GT Jaeger (2007, Norway) [15] F/U study Dogs with Canine Hip Dysplasia 3 beads, 24 K, 1×2 mm, 35~40 mg. 1) GG group (N=34): Peri-articular insertion at 5 points around the head of femur from day 0
2) PG group (N=32): nsertion was not executed at the day 0 but at sixth month
3) PC group: Researcher feigned the process of implantation without bead (N=7) Pain (Veterinarian) Significantly reduced in pooled gold group (4.8 to 4.2 vs 4.4 to 5.0, p=0.012)
Dysfunction (Veterinarian) Not significantly improved. (1.9 to 1.2 vs 2.6 to 3.0)
Pain (Owner) Reduced significantly (p<0.01) but the intergroup change was not significant. (5.1 to 2.4 vs 4.4 to 3.0, p=0.13)
Dysfunction (Owner) Improved significantly (4.4 to 2.2 vs 3.9 to 4.0, p<0.01)
Behavior (Owner) The prevalence of dogs with behavior improvements was significantly larger in the gold group (81.8 % vs 14.3 %)
G. Marquez (2009, Mexico) [16] Animal CT Dogs with Idiopathic Epilepsy Gold wire, 3mm long Subdermal Insertion at GB20, GV23, GV21, GV20, GV16, GV14, ErShenMen, YinTang, LI4, LV3, ST40, No Frequency Reduced significantly (p<0.003)
Severity Reduced significantly (p<0.015)
EEG record No significant differences in relative power or in intra-hemispheric coherence in EEG record.
GT Jaeger (2012, Norway) [17] Animal RCT Identical to that of article 14 Identical to that of article 14 Identical to that of article 14 (This study is a record of undesired effects caused by the intervention) Identical to that of article 14 Leakage of Body fluid Blood was observed significantly more frequently than synovia (73.7 % vs 36.8 %)
Pain aggravation Pain aggravation occurred significantly more frequently in the gold group. (15 of 38 vs 6 of 42, p=0.036)
Others No signs of infection was reported.
2 out of 710 gold beads were migrated without pain
Table 3
Summary of 4 Clinical Trials about Gold Implantation Treatment on Humans
Study Design Patient Information Gold preparation Intervention Comparison Outcome Measures Result
W Rondo (1996, Brazil) [18] CT Humans, condition unclear A thread, 24K, No details nserted in deep dermis of anterior region of arm (N=10) No Histological Features A tuberculoid type granuloma reaction a large quantity of reticulum fibers, the presence of epithelioid cells, no giant multinuclear cells. No foreign body reaction
K. Nejrup, (2008, Denmark) [19] RCT, pilot study Knee OA, over 1 year. 3 beads, 24K, 1×2.5 mm Subdermal insertion at Heding, Xi-yian, ST35, GB33, and LV8 (N=21) Placebo (N=19) WOMAC Reduced in both groups: pain −1.92/−2.18 (p=0.95), stiffness −0.93/−0.43 (p=0.11), function −7.23/−3.36 (p=0.63)
KSCRS Improved in both groups knee score +16.4/+8.2(p=0.65), function +10.5/+5.8 (p=0.79)
H. Kjerkegaard (2011, Denmark) [20] RCT Cervical OA, over 1 year, VAS〉6 3 beads, 24K, 1×2.5 mm Insertion at Hua Tua points. reaching lamina region (N=24) Placebo (N=22) VAS Significantly Reduced from 7 to 2 in gold group (p<0.001)
Consumption of painkillers In gold bead group 16/24 and in placebo group 2/22 patients reduced the use of painkillers by 30 % or more
KC Shin (2012, Korea) [8] CT Periorbital Wrinkle 6 threads, 0.1×40 mm Around wrinkle No WSRS Significantly reduced from 3.21 to 2.41 (p<0.0001)
VAS Significantly reduced from 69.61 to 28.09 (p<0.00001)
Table 4
Summary of 12 Clinical Reports about Gold Implantation Treatment on Humans
Report Subject’s information Type of implantation Duration of Implantation Location of implantation Presented Condition
1 Clinical observation
K.Y. Han (1974, Korea) [21] 1,725 patients taken KUB due to urogenital problem Gold needle or Gold thread Unclear Para-vertebral region. (total 322): Cervical region(2), Thoracic region (21) Lumbar region (295), Sacral region(3), Coccyx region(1) Final diagnosis: Urethral stone(12), BPH(7), Cystitis(6), Renal stone(5), Pyelonephritis(5), Bladder tumor(5), Prostatitis(5), OA of L-spine(5), Female polygoid(4), Urethritis(3), HNP(3), Renal Tbc(2), Anterior urethritis(2) et al.
8 Case Reports
B. Behrstock (1974, US) [22] F/44, Mid-back pain Gold needle 5 years Subcutaneous tissue along the entire back and supra-clavicular regions. 1) Fleeting mid back and right posterior chest pain
2) Hyper-pigmented skin change
G. Stark (2007, Germany) [23] F/47, Facial rejuvenation Gold thread 12 years All over the middle and lower facial soft tissues and upper neck Soaring pain within the soft tissue all over the inserted region without inflammatory signs
K.S. Park (2008, Korea) [24] F/61, Myalgia at hip joints Gold thread Unclear Painful areas of the body Pain and weakness in both thighs
G. Alsaadi (2008, Belgium) [25] F/60, Facial rejuvenation Gold wire 10 years Bilaterally overlapping with the ramus ascendens and the rest of mandible Oral rehabilitation by means of oral implants
D. Armstrong (2008, US) [26] F/62, RA of hand Gold thread Unclear Hand wrist Long lasting, erosive, seropositive RA with increased wrist pain and swelling.
H.G. Yoo (2013, US) [27] F/65, OA of Knee Gold thread Unclear Around the knee joint Pain in both knees
Y. Wang (2013, Taiwan) [28] F/54, Facial rejuvenation Gold thread Unclear Soft tissue of face & neck Traffic accident
B. Mizrahi(2014, England) [29] F/58, Facial rejuvenation Gold thread Unclear Facial part No complaint was presented
I. Moulonguet (2014, France) [30] F/77, Facial rejuvenation Gold thread 10 years Cheek subcutis Histopathology showed a non-polarizing exogenous material surrounded by a fibrous capsule and by a discrete inflammatory reaction with no adverse reaction.
J. Keestra (2014, Belgium) [31] F/76, Facial rejuvenation Gold wire 25 years Soft tissues of cheek, bilaterally Vague toothache in right maxilla, far away from the location of gold-wires
J.Y Cho (2015, Korea) [32] F/39, Chronic headache Gold thread Unclear All over the skull region Chronic cough from unrevealed cause


1. Lee EM, Park DS, Kim DH, et al. A Literature Study and Recent Tendency on Oriental Correction of Deformities and “Needle-embedding Therapy”. The Acupuncture. 2008;25(3):229–36.

2. Park YE. Gold thread implantation therapy. Seoul: Haenglim Seowon. 2003:27–8.

3. Bae DB, Park JH, Yoo YS, et al. The Case Report of 3 Dementia Patients Treated by Needle-Embedding Therapy. J Oriental Neuropshchiatry. 2012;23(3):99–115.
4. Kim HN, Choi YT. An Experimental Study on the Effect of Gold and Silver Thread Insertion on the Adrenal Cortical Insufficiency in Rats [dissertation]. Seoul: Kyunghee Univ, 1991. Korean.

5. Song IS. Effect of Acupuncture Treatment with Gold Needle on Serum Female Hormone Levels and Bone Mineral Density in Ovariectomized Rats [dissertation]. Daegu: Kyungsan Univ, 1999. Korean.

6. Kim HY, Sohn BY, Seo UK, et al. An Exploratory Study of Gold Wire Implantation at Acupoints to Accelerate Ulnar Fracture Healing in Rats. J Physiol Sci. 2009;59(4):329–33.
crossref pmid
7. Tuna SH, Gumus HS, Hersek N. Custom-made Gold Implant for Mana-gement of Lagophthalmos: A case Report. Eur J Dent. 2008;2(4):294–8.
crossref pmid pmc
8. Shin KC, Bae TH, Kim WS, Kim HK. Usefulness of Gold Thread Implantation for Crow’s Feet. Arch Plast Surg. 2012;39(1):42–5.
crossref pmid pmc
9. Lee SW, Lee YH, Kim CH, Ko HK. An Experimental Study on the Effect of Gold Needle Upon Kidney Function in Rats [dissertation]. Seoul: Kyunghee Univ, 1980. Korean.

10. Ko HK, Choi YT. An Experimental Study on the Effect of Gold Needle Insertion Upon Anti-Inflammatory, Analgesic and Anti-Fatigue Functions [dissertation]. Seoul: Kyunghee Univ, 1984. Korean.

11. Hong YP, Ko HK, Kim CH. Studies on the Effect of Excretion of Testo-sterone and Estrogen with Gold Thread Insertion in Normal Rats. The Acupuncture. 1988;5(1):15–37.

12. Lie KI, Jaeger G, Nordstoga K, Moe L. Inflammatory Response toThera-pheutic Gold Bead ImplantationinCanine Hip Joint Osteoarthritis. Vet Pathol. 2011;48(6):1118–24.
crossref pmid
13. Kurita M, Matsumoto D, Hako H, et al. Tissue Reactions to Cog Structure and Pure Gold in Lifting Threads: A Histological Study in Rats. Aesthet Surg J. 2011;31(3):347–52.
crossref pmid
14. Jaeger GT, Larsen S, Soli N, Moe L. Double-blind, Placebo-controlled Tiral of the Pain-Relieving Effects of the Implantation of Gold Beads into Dogs with Hip Dysplasia. Vet Rec. 2006;158(21):722–6.
crossref pmid
15. Jaeger GT, Larsen S, Soli N, Moe L. Two Years Follow-up Study of the Pain-Relieving Effect of Gold Bead Implantation in Dogs with Hip-joint Arthritis. Acta Vet Scand. 2007;49(9):1–7.
crossref pmid pmc
16. Marquez G, Caballero S, Solis H, Rodrigez C, Sumano H. Electrocepha-lographic Evaluation of Gold Wire Implants Inserted in Acupuncture Points in Dogs with Epileptic Seizures. Res Vet Sci. 2009;86(1):152–61.
crossref pmid
17. Jaeger GT, Stigen O, Devor M, Moe L. Gold Bead Implantation in Acu-points for Coxofemoral Arthrosis in Dogs: Method Description and Adverse Effects. Animals. 2012;2(3):426–36.
crossref pmid pmc
18. Rondo W, Vidarte G, Michalany N. Histologic Study of the Skin with Gold Thread Implantation. Plast Reconstr Surg. 1996;97(1):256–8.
crossref pmid
19. Nerjup K, Olivaruius N, Jacobson J, Siersma V. Randomized Controlled Trial of Extraarticular Gold Bead Implant-ation for Treatment of Knee Osteo-arthritis: a pilot study. Clin Rheumatol. 2008;27(11):1363–9.
crossref pmid
20. Kjerkegaard H, Kirkeby R, Christensen T, Schlunzen L. Double-Blinded, Placebo-Con trolled Trial of the Pain-Relieving Effect of Gold Bead Implantation on Cervical Osteoarthritis. Med Acupunct. 2022;23(2):87–91.
21. Han KY. Clinical Observation in Patients of Whom Gold Thread Acupuncture Has Been Applied. Korean J Urol. 1974;15(2):107–13.

22. Behrstock B, Petrakis N. Case Reports. Permanent Subcutaneous Gold Acupuncture Needles. West J Med. 1974;121(2):140–2.
pmid pmc
23. Stark G, Bannasch H. The “Golden Thread Lift”: Radiologic Finding. Aesth Plast Surg. 2007;31(2):206–8.
24. Park KS, Sohn TS, Son HS, Cho CS, Kim HY. Clinical image: Gold Thread Acupuncture, a Hedgehog-like Apprearance. Arthritis Rheum. 2008;58(12):3969.
crossref pmid
25. Alsaadi G, Jacobs R, quirynen M, Steenberghe D. Soft Tissue Augmentation of the Cheeks Detected on Intra-and Extraoral Radiographs: A Case Report. Dentomaxillofac Radiol. 2008;37(2):117–20.
crossref pmid
26. Armstrong DT, Gilliland WR, Murphy MD, Salesky J. Clinical images: Gold Thread Acupuncture for Rheumatoid Arthritis. Arthritis Rheum. 2011;63(10):3021.
crossref pmid
27. Yoo HG, Yoo WH. Acupuncture with Gold Thread for Osteoarthritis of the Knee. N Engl J Med. 2013;369(26):e37.
crossref pmid
28. Wang YF, Wang CC, Liu KL. A Woman’s Secret. Filler Rhinoplasty with Radiesse. Ann Emerg Med. 2013;62(3):224.
crossref pmid
29. Mizrahi B, Scully C. Dental Radiography: Gold Thread Therapy. Br Dent J. 2014;216(11):606.
30. Moulonguet I, Arnaud E, Plantier F, Costa P, Zaleski S. Histopathologic and Ultrastructural Features of Gold Thread Implanted in the Skin for Facial Rejuvenation. Am J Dermatolopathol. 2014;37(10):1–5.
31. Keestra J, Jacobs R, Quirynen M. Gold-wire Artifacts on Diagnostic Radiographs: A Case Report. Imaging Sci Dent. 2014;44(1):81–4.
crossref pmid pmc
32. Cho JY, Park YS. Gold Thread Acupuncture for a Headache. Am J Med Sci. 2015;350(5):420.
crossref pmid
33. Kim SC, Hwang JH, Lee JK, et al. Foreign Body Stone of the Bladder as a Complication of the Gold Thread Acupuncture. Korean J Urol. 1983;24(3):479–82.

34. Kang WH, Kim DH, Cho CH. A Case of Nodular Skin Lesions Following Implantation of Gold Acupuncture Needles. Allergy. 1983;3(3):197–203.

35. Park KY, Jang WS, Kim IS, et al. Multiple Epidermal Cysts as a Complication of Gold Acupuncture. Ann Dermatol. 2014;26(3):405–6.
crossref pmid pmc
Share :
Facebook Twitter Linked In Google+
METRICS Graph View
  • 1 Crossref
  • 6,730 View
  • 134 Download
Related articles in JAR

Article and Issues
For this Journal
For Authors
Submit Manuscript
Editorial Office
Gil Korean Medical Hospital, Gachon University
Keunumul-Ro, Chung-Ku, Inchoen 22138, Korea
Tel: +82-70-7606-6353,4    Fax: +82-32-232-3334    E-mail:                

Copyright © 2022 by Korean Acupuncture & Moxibustion Medicine Society.

Developed in M2PI

Close layer
prev next