British Journal of Anaesthesia coverAn article in the latest volume of the British Journal of Anaesthesia reports on the case of a 62-year old patient who had ankle surgery with only self-hypnosis an an anaesthetic.

Image of an ankle arthroscopy procedure

The patient had severe ankle osteoarthritis and required an arthroscopy procedure on both ankles. An arthroscopy involves having two or three small holes made in the ankle, through which instruments can be inserted. Debris is washed from the ankle, and loose pieces of bone, cartilage, inflamed tissue, and bone spurs are removed. From the article:

"The patient did not receive any premedication. The patient induced his hypnotic state in the operating theatre, on the operating table, once i.v. access and full monitoring had been established. Induction of hypnosis took ∼1 min. The patient confirmed when he was in the required state of hypnosis for surgery to commence and was able to talk to the anaesthetist throughout the procedure. "

"Our patient has now experienced three orthopaedic procedures using self-hypnosis and has reported a high level of personal satisfaction."

Not everybody can experience this level of pain relief using hypnosis: it is generally accepted that only hypnotic 'virtuosos' are capable. However, research into hypnotic analgesia (pain relief) has shown that a majority of pain patients can benefit from hypnosis to some extent.

 

O'Shea, J., Dodd, L., Panayioutou, S., Palmer, S. (2011). Self-induced hypnosis for bilateral ankle arthroscopy. British Journal of Anaesthesia, 106(2), 282

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