Hypnotising women undergoing breast cancer surgery could speed their recovery and reduce the odds of the disease returning, experts believe.
They say using a combination of hypnotism and local anaesthetic to put patients under also allows quicker discharge from hospital and leaves patients more satisfied overall. However, the technique is recommended only for operations in which surgeons do not tug at flesh and patients must be ‘motivated’. The recommendations come from Belgian anaesthetists who already routinely put patients having breast and thyroid operations in pain-relieving trances.
To prove the technique's worth, they carried out studies on two groups of patients. The first involved 78 breast cancer patients, scheduled for ops which included removing part of the breast.
Eighteen of the women had the hypnosis, combined with a local anaesthetic, which only numbed the chest area. The others had a general anaesthetic that knocked them out completely.
Those that were hypnotised spent five or six minutes more under the surgeon's knife but needed fewer powerful pain-relieving drugs when recovering afterwards. They were also discharged nearly a day earlier, on average, the European Anaesthesiology Congress heard.