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Pre & Post Surgery

Did you know that in Belgium anesthetists routinely put patients having breast and thyroid operations in pain-relieving trances?

There may be another important benefit to cancer patients as well: 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.

Maybe you know someone who would benefit from Pre & Post Surgery Hypnosis.