Hypnosis, according to a new study, can help patients undergoing surgery.
Professor Fabienne Roelants and Dr. Christine Watremez at the Cliniques Universitaires St. Luc, a hospital in Belgium, found that hypnosis, when used in combination with local anesthesia for breast cancer surgery, reduced the amount of time patients spent in recovery. Their results were presented Sunday at the European Anaesthesiology Congress in Amsterdam.
In one study, 18 women underwent hypnosis and were given local anesthsia before undergoing breast cancer surgery and a group of 60 women did not have hypnosis and were given general anesthesia. The hypnosis group spent more time in the operating room, but less in the recovery room and less in the hospital overall.
Another study compared the experience of patients undergoing a thyroidectomy; 18 who had hypnosis and local anesthesia, and 36 who had general anesthesia. Again the patients who had hypnosis spent less time in recovery and had shorter hospital stays.
The researchers said there’s still a fair amount of debate about why hypnosis reduces pain. But as long as it does, they said, they will use it. At Cliniques Universitaires Saint-Luc, they said, a combination of hypnosis and local anesthesia is used in a third of thyroidectomies and a quarter of all breast cancer surgeries.