Hypnosis in Surgery, Journal of the National Cancer Institute

The Mind Prepared: Hypnosis in Surgery
by David Spiegel, MD, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University School of Medicine

Along with an excellent set of references, this article is a very good summary of the state and factors of using hypnosis to reduce the pain and anxiety that cancer patients (or any surgery patient, really) feels. The first study mentioned is a 2007 randomized trial of 200 patients. A quote:

This brief hypnotic preparation was sufficient to produce a statistically significant reduction in the use of propofol and lidocaine; yet despite this, patients in the intervention group reported less pain, nausea, fatigue, discomfort, and emotional upset than did patients in the control group. Doing good also meant doing well, in that the use of hypnosis also resulted in a cost savings of $772.71 per patient, due largely to shorter time in the operating room—an average of 10.6 minutes.

The article goes on to mention the studies and work of Lang and colleagues, who completed a series of earlier studies that showed similar results.

Spiegal then tackles the question of, "if this works so well, then why isn't everyone using it?" His answer, in my opinion, is excellent and gets to the very core of the issues. As a professional hypnotherapist, if you can do even something small to help solve those issues - and you can if you think about it - you will be making a difference that helps millions now and in the future. With the current costs of medical care exploding, this is a lever that is becoming quite timely as well as effective.

The article wraps with a model explanation of why hypnosis is effective for pain control in surgery. This article is suitable for you to add to your set of reference articles for doctors and medical staff that request more information about hypnosis from you.

Many thanks to the Journal of the National Cancer Institute for making this article available online for free!