People having surgery done under local anaesthetic can benefit from hypnosis as a way of relaxing them.
Many surgical procedures can be done using a local anaesthetic, rather than general anaesthesia. This might be better for the patient, but the prospect of being awake during an operation is troubling for many. Often a sedative drug will be used to relax the patient, so the surgery is less than an ordeal. But hypnosis may be a useful alternative.
That’s the view of Dr Sebastian Schulz-Stubner, of Iowa State University, who has carried out a study of hypnosis on patients in Germany. A group of 48 patients were offered hypnosis when undergoing elective surgery under local anaesthesia. All were successfully hypnotized and none needed a sedating drug.
But when the procedure was tried on twelve patients needing emergency surgery, it only worked in two cases. Evidently preparation is the key to sedating hypnosis. Continuing the work at Iowa State will involve careful selection of patients – perhaps those attending as day patients if there is time to learn about the hypnosis procedure before their operation.