Dr Ho Kok Yuen
“Not all patients with chronic pain need surgery. There are minimally invasive, non-surgical approaches to treat pain.”
Dr Ho Kok Yuen is widely recognised as an expert in minimally invasive interventional pain management, having performed thousands of such surgeries. He treats persistent and severe pain using therapies such as steroid injections, nerve blocks, radiofrequency ablation, intrathecal drug delivery and spinal cord stimulation (SCS).
The first physician in Asia to perform cooled radiofrequency ablation, he has been treating spine, sacroiliac joint, hip, knee and shoulder pain using this technique since 2006. He also administers spinal infusions of painkillers for patients with advanced terminal cancer pain to ensure pain-free end-of-life comfort care.
When Boston Scientific launched its most advanced SCS system – the WaveWriter Alpha™ – in Southeast Asia, Dr Ho Kok Yuen was the first doctor to perform the implant surgery. SCS uses electrical impulses to block pain signals in the spinal cord, effectively treating intractable back pain, leg pain and neuropathic pain. SCS therapy has helped hundreds and thousands of people around the world improve their quality of life.
Dr Ho Kok Yuen obtained his MBBS and Master of Medicine (Anaesthesiology) from the National University of Singapore. He holds a Graduate Diploma in Sports Medicine (GDSM) from the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine (LKCMed) at Nanyang Technological University.
He completed his fellowship training in Pain Management at Duke University Hospital in USA in 2006. He is a certified Diplomate with the American Academy of Pain Management (DAAPM) and a Fellow in Interventional Pain Practice (FIPP) with the World Institute of Pain. Dr Ho has double European qualifications, having been awarded the European Diploma in Pain Medicine (EDPM) offered by the European Federation EFIC and the European Society of Regional Anaesthesia separately. He is an examiner for the FIPP exams and the ESRA-EDPM exams.
Dr Ho Kok Yuen was formerly with the Department of Anaesthesia & Surgical Intensive Care as well as the Pain Management Centre at Singapore General Hospital as a Visiting Consultant.
News and Media
Dr. Ho Kok Yuen has appeared on both local TV (Channel News Asia, Mediacorp Channel 5 TV Prime Time Morning and Channel 8早安你好) as well as overseas TV (Jakarta Metro TV) programmes.
He has been interviewed on a variety of chronic pain topics in both English and Mandarin on radio talk shows including News FM93.8 Body and Soul, Capital FM95.8, Love FM97.2, and UFM100.3. In addition, he has shared pain management advice in local newspapers (Straits Times, Lianhe Zaobao, Shin Min Daily and Lianhe Wanbao) and overseas newspapers (The Borneo Post, Sin Chew Jit Poh and Nanyang Siang Pau).
In his spare time, Dr Ho contributes articles to Straits Times and Lianhe Zaobao. He was also a regular columnist for Wanbao from 2015 to 2017.
Dr. Ho has published more than 50 peer-reviewed research articles and book chapters on topics related to pain management and anaesthesia. He has delivered more than 200 lectures at regional and international medical conferences and training workshops.
2. Ho KY, Chiu JW. Fast-track anaesthesia for day-case surgery: What are the issues? Asean Journal of Anaesthesiology 2003; 4(1): 14-36.
3. Ho KY, Chua WL, Lim SST, Ng ASB. A comparison between single and double breath vital capacity inhalation induction with 8% sevoflurane in children. Paediatr Anaesth 2004 Jun; 14(6): 457-61.
4. Ho KY, Chiu JW. Multimodal antiemetic therapy and emetic risk-profiling. Ann Acad Med Singapore 2005 May; 34(2): 196-205.
5. Ho KY, Gan TJ. The impact of intraoperative analgesia on the prevention of chronic postoperative pain. COPE (Coalition for Pain Education Newsletter) 2006; 1(1): 5.
6. Ho KY, Gan TJ. Book review on: The Year in Anesthesia and Critical Care, Vol. 1. By Hunter J, Cook T, Priebe H-J, Struys M, eds. Oxford, UK: Clinical Publishing, 2005. Anesth Analg 2006; 102: 1300-1.
7. Ho KY. Vascular uptake of contrast despite negative aspiration in interlaminar cervical epidural injection. Pain Physician 2006 Jul; 9(3): 267-268.
8. Ho KY. Gabapentin for postoperative nausea and vomiting prophylaxis. J Postgrad Medicine 2006 Jul-Sep; 52(3): 230.
9. Ho KY, Gan TJ. Chapter 39: Postoperative Nausea and Vomiting. In: Complications in Anesthesiology, 3rd edition. Editors: Lobato EB, Gravenstein N, Kirby RR. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; Philadelphia, PA. 2007. Page 571-580.
10. Ho KY, Nagi PA, Gray L, Huh BK. An alternative approach to ganglion impar neurolysis under computed tomography guidance for recurrent vulva cancer. Anesthesiology 2006 Oct; 105(4): 861-862.
11. Ho KY, Gan TJ, Habib AS. Gabapentin and postoperative pain – a systematic review of randomized controlled trials. Pain 2006 Dec; 126(1-3): 91-101.
12. Ho KY, Gan TJ. Pharmacology, pharmacogenetics, and clinical efficacy of 5-hydroxytryptamine type 3 receptor antagonists for postoperative nausea and vomiting. Curr Opin Anaesthesiol 2006 Dec; 19(6): 606-611.
13. Lim Y, Sia AT, Ho KY, Teo A. Combined spinal epidural analgesia for labor with and without 3 ml of 1.5 % epidural lidocaine. Med Sci Monit Jan 2007; 13(1): CR9-13.
14. Huerto A, Ho KY. Interventional management of cancer pain. SGH Proceedings 2007; 16(1): 4-11.
15. Ho KY, Gan TJ. Management of persistent post-dural puncture headache after repeated epidural blood patch: case report. Acta Anaesthesiol Scand 2007 May; 51(5): 633-636.
16. Ho KY, Tan KH. Botulinum toxin A for myofascial trigger point injection: a qualitative systematic review. Eur J Pain 2007 Jul; 11(5): 519-527.
17. Huerto APS, Yeo SN, Ho KY. Piriformis muscle injection using ultrasonography and motor stimulation – report of a technique. Pain Physician 2007 Sep; 10(5): 687-690.
18. Ho KY, Huh BK, White WD, Yeh CC, Miller EJ. Topical amitriptyline versus lidocaine in the treatment of neuropathic pain. Clin J Pain 2008 Jan; 24(1): 51-55.
19. Dooley JD, Beadles C, Ho KY, Sair F, Gray-Leithe L, Huh BK. Computed tomography-guided bilateral transdiscal superior hypogastric plexus neurolysis. Pain Medicine 2008 April; 9(3): 345-347.
20. Ho KY, Manghnani P. Acute monoplegia after lysis of epidural adhesions: A case report. Pain Practice 2008 Aug; 8(5): 404-407.
21. Nocom G, Ho KY, Perumal M. Interventional management of chronic pain. Ann Acad Med Singapore 2009 Feb; 38(2): 150-155.
22. Ho KY, Pasutharnchat K. Intrathecal dexamethasone for the treatment of intractable postherpetic neuralgia: a case report. The Internet Journal of Pain, Symptom Control and Palliative Care 2009;6(2).
23. Ho KY, Gan TJ. Chapter 25: Opioid-Related Adverse Effects and Treatment Options. In: Acute Pain Management. Editors: Sinatra R, De Leon-Casasola O, Viscusi E, Ginsberg B. Cambridge University Press; New York, NY. 2009. Page 406-415.
24. Ho KY, Jones L, Gan TJ. The effect of cultural background on the usage of complementary and alternative medicine for chronic pain management. Pain Physician 2009 May-Jun; 12(3): 685-8.
25. Poon KH, Tan KH, Ho KY. Efficacy of fentanyl iontophoretic transdermal system in postoperative pain - a meta-analysis. Acute Pain 2009 June; 11(2): 65-74.
26. Ho KY, Siew CW. A survey of chronic pain management by primary care physicians in Singapore. Asean Journal of Anaesthesiology 2009.
27. Ho KY, Siau C. Chronic pain management: therapy, drugs and needles. Ann Acad Med Singapore 2009 Nov; 38(11): 929-930.
28. Pasutharnchat K, Tan KH, Hadi MA, Ho KY. Intrathecal analgesia in patients with cancer pain – an audit in a tertiary institution. Ann Acad Med Singapore 2009 Nov; 38(11): 943-946.
29. Tay W, Ho KY. The role of interventional therapies in cancer pain management. Ann Acad Med Singapore 2009 Nov; 38(11): 989-997.
30. Ho KY, Tay W, Yeo MC, Liu HJ, Yeo SJ, Chia SL, Lo NN. Duloxetine reduces morphine requirements after knee replacement surgery. Br J Anaesth 2010 Sep; 105(3): 371-376.
31. Pasutharnchat K, Ho KY. Spinal cord stimulation for the treatment of intractable pain from failed back surgery syndrome. Proceedings of Singapore Healthcare 2010; 19(3): 3-7.
32. Emril D, Ho KY. Treatment of trigeminal neuralgia – role of radiofrequency ablation. J Pain Res 2010 Dec; 3: 249-254.
33. Zhang J, Ho KY, Wang Y. Efficacy of pregabalin in acute postoperative pain: a meta-analysis. Br J Anaesth 2011 Apr; 106(4): 454-462.
34. Tan M, Tan BS, Wee CN, Yang JM, Ho KY, Ong S. A Randomised Controlled Trial Evaluating the Efficacy of a Nurse Controlled Analgesia (NCA) Protocol in Post Anaesthesia Care Unit (PACU). Proceedings of Singapore Healthcare 2011 Jun; 20(2):110-114.
35. Yuan FSY, Ng SY, Ho KY, Lee SY, Chung AYF, Poopalalingam P. Abnormal coagulation profile after hepatic resection: the effect of chronic hepatic disease and implications for epidural analgesia. J Clin Anesth 2012; 24:398-403.
36. Macleod DB, Habib AS, Ikeda K, Spyker DA, Cassella JV, Ho KY, Gan TJ. Inhaled fentanyl aerosol in healthy volunteers: pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics. Anesth Analg 2012 Nov;115(5):1071-1077.
37. Ho KY, Chua NHL, George JM, Yeo SN, Main N, Choo CY, Tan JWT, Tan KH, Ng BY. Evidence-based guidelines on the use of opioids in chronic non-cancer pain – a consensus statement by the Pain Association of Singapore Task Force. Ann Acad Med Singapore 2013 Mar;42(3):138-152.
38. Ho KY, Hadi MA, Pasutharnchat K, Tan KH. Cooled radiofrequency denervation for the treatment of sacroiliac joint pain: Two-year results from twenty cases. J Pain Res 2013 Jul 4;6: 505-11.
39. Pergolizzi JV, Gharibo C, Ho KY. Treatment considerations for cancer pain: a global perspective. Pain Pract 2015; 15(8):778-792.
40. The ACHEON Working Group, Kim YC, Ahn JS, Calimag MMP, Chao TC, Ho KY, Tho LM, Xia ZJ, Ward L, Moon H, Bhagat A. Current practices in cancer pain management in Asia: a survey of patients and physicians across ten countries. Cancer Med 2015 Aug;4(8):1196-1204.
41. Ho KY, Ahn JS, Calimag MM, Chao TC, Kim YC, Moon H, Tho LM, Xia ZJ, You D. Inadequate treatment practices for pain relief and adverse event management in cancer patients across 10 countries/regions in Asia: a call for greater efforts to improve standards for patient care. Asia Pac J Clin Oncol 2018 Jun;14(3)159-166.
42. Ho KY, Gwee KA, Cheng YK, Yoon KH, Hee HT, Omar AR. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs in chronic pain: implications of new data for clinical practice. J Pain Res 2018;11:1937-1948.
43. Freynhagen R, Arevalo Parada H, Calderon-Ospina CA, Chen J, Rakhmawati Emril D, Villacorta FF, Franco H, Ho KY, Lara-Solares A, Li CC, Mimenza Alvarado A, Nimmaanrat S, Dolma Santos M, Ciampi de Andrade D. Current understanding of the mixed pain concept: a brief narrative review. Curr Med Res Opin. 2019;35(6):1011-1018.
44. Raff M, Belbachir A, El-Tallawy S, Ho KY, Nagtalon E, Salti A, Seo JH, Tantri AR, Wang HW, Wang TL, Buemio KC, Gutierrez C, Hadijat Y. Intravenous Oxycodone Versus Other Intravenous Strong Opioids for Acute Postoperative Pain Control: A Systematic Review of Randomized Controlled Trials. Pain Ther 2019;8(1):19-39.
45. Ho KY. Perceptions and Beliefs Regarding NSAIDs in the Asia-Pacific Region. J Pain Res 2020; 13:437-446.
46. Huang RY, Poree L, Ho KY, Tsai SY, Liu YC, Tan PH, Wen YR. Behavioral Survey of Effects of Pulsed Radiofrequency on Neuropathic and Nociceptive Pain in Rats: Treatment Profile and Device Implantation. Neuromodulation 2021;24(8):1458-1466.
47. Ho KY, Cardosa MS, Chaiamnuay S, Ho HQT, Kamil O, Mokhtar SA, Nakata K, Navarra SV, Nguyen VH, Pinzon R, Tsuruoka S, Yim HB, Choy E. Practice advisory on the appropriate use of NSAIDs in primary care. J Pain Res 2020; 13:1925-1939.
48. Ho KY, Wang EH, Salud JA, Cheung CW, Chong KW. Real-world experience with tramadol plus dexketoprofen fixed-dose combination in postoperative pain management: A series of case studies from Asia. Clin Case Rep Rev 2020；6:1-7.
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