Hypnotherapy > Pre-operative surgery

There are many clinical studies that demonstrate the effectiveness of hypnotherapy when used before surgical operations. Here is one of them:

Hypnosis before breast surgery reduces the amount of medication required during the procedure and lessens postsurgical pain and nausea, according to results of new study. Hospitals also benefit from lower costs.

These findings, reported in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, stem from a study of 200 patients recruited from two Mount Sinai Medical Center surgical practices in New York City. The women were scheduled to undergo a breast biopsy or lumpectomy, with or without removal of a portion of the surrounding lymph nodes. The patients were randomly assigned to hypnosis or to a "control" procedure that involved empathic listening. Both procedures were conducted for 15 minutes an hour before surgery by a clinical psychologist. At discharge, the patients reported their postsurgical symptoms.

Patients in the hypnosis group required less lidocaine and less propofol during surgery than patients in the control group, Dr. Guy H. Montgomery and colleagues report.

The hypnosis group also had less pain and nausea after surgery than did the control group. Patients' assessments of discomfort, fatigue, and emotional upset were also more favorable after hypnosis. According to the investigators, all of these effects were "clinically meaningful."

Montgomery's team estimates that surgical breast procedures at the Mount Sinai Medical Center cost an average of $8,561 per patient. Hypnosis before surgery reduced that cost by $772.71 per patient.

A short hypnosis session "appears to be one of the rare clinical interventions that can simultaneously reduce both symptom burden and costs," they conclude.

In a related editorial, Dr. David Spiegel from Stanford University School of Medicine in California, remarks that pain relief provided by hypnosis can change the experience of pain as much as many analgesic drugs do.

SOURCE: Journal of the National Cancer Institute, September 5, 2007.

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