The health and financial benefits of combing hypnotherapy and local anaesthesia in some surgical operations has been highlighted in recent research in Belgian.
Details of how hypnotherapy when used with normal local anaesthesia were delivered to the European Anaesthesiology Congress in Amsterdam.
The congress heard healing times were speeded up, drug needs reduced and time in hospital cut.
The evidence was gathered by Fabienne Roelants and Dr. Christine Watremez of Cliniques Universitaires St. Luc in Brussels who explained the study involved women who underwent breast cancer surgery – partial mastectomy, examination of lymph nodes and opening the armpit to examine or remove some or all of the lymph nodes.
Out of the study groups 78 women, 18 of them were given hypnotherapy – the rest had general anaesthesia.
Although the hypnotised patients spent a few minutes longer in the operating room, there was a substantial reduction in the need for opioid drug and they needed less time in the recovery room and in the hospital. The outcome of the surgery between the two groups were similar.
Fabienne Roelants told the conference: "In addition to reducing drug use and hospital stay time, being able to avoid general anaesthesia in breast cancer surgery is important because we know that local anaesthesia can block the body's stress response to surgery and could therefore reduce the possible spread of metastases."