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Pre & Post Surgery Hypnosis

"Hypnotizing women undergoing breast cancer surgery could speed their recovery and reduce the odds of the disease returning. Using a combination of hypnotism and local anesthetic to put patients under also allows quicker discharge from hospital and leaves patients more satisfied overall."

AHA Diploma for Pre and Post Surgery

That quote is a recommendation from Belgian anesthetists who already routinely put patients having breast and thyroid operations in pain-relieving trances.

There may be another important benefit to cancer patients. Professor Fabienne Roelants, of the Universite Catholique de Louvain, or UCL, in Brussels, said: “In addition to reducing drug use and hospital stay time, being able to avoid general anesthesia in breast cancer surgery is important because we know that local anesthesia can block the body's stress response to surgery and therefore reduce the possible spread (of the tumor).”

Professor Roelants says, “There is still a lot of debate around the exact mechanism that allows hypnosis to reduce pain perception, but what is absolutely clear is that it does so. The result is that one-third of thyroidectomies and a quarter of all breast cancer surgery carried out at the UCL hospitals are performed under local anesthetic with the patient under hypnosis.”


Research from The National Cancer Institute found that “women (undergoing surgery for breast cancer) who received a brief hypnotherapy session before entering the operating room required less anesthesia and pain medication during surgery.” From this study, and similar ones, we can extrapolate that hypnosis is helpful for other kinds of invasive procedures as well.

The clinical trial results from the Journal of National Cancer Institute, September 5, 2007, included this statement:

Women in the hypnosis group required significantly less propofol and lidocaine, the doses of which were adjusted for individual patients as needed during surgery, than women in the control group. Use of fentanyl and midazolam did not differ significantly. Although use of pain medication after surgery did not differ between groups, women in the hypnosis group reported significantly less pain intensity, pain unpleasantness, nausea, fatigue, discomfort, and emotional upset than women in the control group. Women in the hypnosis group also spent an average of about ten and a half fewer minutes in surgery than women in the control group. The researchers weren’t able to say why this was so, only that the finding was statistically significant and resulted in cost savings. On average, the surgical procedures cost about $770 less per patient in the hypnosis group.

Women undergoing surgery for breast cancer who received a brief hypnosis session before entering the operating room required less anesthesia and pain medication during surgery and reported less pain, nausea, fatigue, and discomfort after surgery than women who did not receive hypnosis. The overall cost of surgery was also significantly less for women undergoing hypnosis.

“Overall, our results support the present hypnosis intervention as a brief, clinically effective means for controlling patients’ pain, nausea, fatigue, discomfort, and emotional upset following breast cancer surgery beyond traditional pharmacotherapeutic approaches,” stated the authors. “The present brief hypnosis intervention appears to be one of the rare clinical interventions that can simultaneously reduce both symptom burden and costs.” “If you can decrease the amount of pain using a technique such as hypnosis, and you can also at the same time reduce the cost involved in treating these patients, I think it’s beneficial both ways,” said Sonia Jakowlew, Ph.D., program director in the National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) Cancer Cell Biology Branch. “It helps the patients and it helps the physicians as well.” Further studies are needed, explained the authors, to measure which specific parts of the hypnosis intervention are most effective, to see whether hypnosis had a long-term effect on the control of pain and discomfort, and to test hypnosis in patients with different types of cancer and from different demographic backgrounds. “Investigators should attempt to replicate [this study] and see if these are consistent findings.”
-- Jeffrey White, M.D. director of NCI’s Office of Cancer Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

Less Anxiety & Medication
Faster Healing

Hypnosis Reduces Pain and Speeds up Recovery from Surgery

Since 1992, we have used hypnosis routinely in more than 1400 patients undergoing surgery. We found that hypnosis used with patients as an adjunct to conscious sedation and local anesthesia was associated with improved intraoperative patient comfort, and with reduced anxiety, pain, intraoperative requirements for anxiolytic and analgesic drugs, optimal surgical conditions and a faster recovery of the patient. We reported our clinical experience and our fundamental research.

[Hypnosis and its application in surgery] Faymonville ME, Defechereux T, Joris J, Adant JP, Hamoir E, Meurisse M, Service d'Anesthesie-Reanimation, Universite de Liege, Rev Med Liege. 1998 Jul;53(7):414-8.

Hypnosis Useful in Hospital Emergency Rooms

Hypnosis can be a useful adjunct in the emergency department setting. Its efficacy in various clinical applications has been replicated in controlled studies. Application to burns, pain, pediatric procedures, surgery, psychiatric presentations (e.g., coma, somatoform disorder, anxiety, and post traumatic stress), and obstetric situations (e.g., hyperemesis, labor, and delivery) are described.


Healed 41% faster from fracture

Healed significantly faster from surgery

Two studies from Harvard Medical School show hypnosis significantly reduces the time it takes to heal.

Study One: Six weeks after an ankle fracture, those in the hypnosis group showed the equivalent of eight and a half weeks of healing.

Study Two: Three groups of people studied after breast reduction surgery. Hypnosis group healed "significantly faster" than supportive attention group and control group.

Harvard Medical School, Carol Ginandes and Union Institute in Cincinnati, Patricia Brooks, Harvard University Gazette Online at https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2003/05/hypnosis-helps-healing-2/.