Science & Technology
Hypnotized patients undergo brain surgery
January 1, 2016 | 7 comments
Would you undergo brain surgery while in a hypnotic trance ? Image Credit: CC BY 2.0 Allan Ajifo
Hypnosis has been found to be a viable alternative to anesthesia for patients undergoing brain surgery.
Having someone perform a surgical procedure on your brain while you are still awake might sound like a horrific ordeal at the best of times, but now doctors in France have been trialing a new technique which involves hypnotizing the patient instead of administering an anesthetic.
Known as hypnosedation, the method has proven surprisingly effective at the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Tours where Dr. Ilyess Zemmoura and colleagues have been using it to keep patients conscious but relaxed during complex surgical procedures.
The process is discussed with each patient beforehand and when the surgery begins the hypnotic experience is progressively enhanced with instructions and reassurances provided throughout.
In total 37 patients underwent surgery using this technique and only six had to revert back to standard anesthesia. Those who completed the procedure under hypnosis also reported no negative psychological impact and only two were unsure about using it again in the future.
While this unique method does not necessarily offer any major advantages over conventional sedation techniques it does offer an intriguing alternative that could prove particularly helpful to patients with conditions where anesthetics are ill-advised or ineffective.
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