Would You Use Hypnosis Instead of Anesthesia?

Playing Would You Skip Anesthesia in the OR?

Would you consider hypnosis instead of anesthesia in the operating room?

MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston is exploring hypnosis as an alternative for some surgeries that involves patients being guided into a deep state of relaxation.

The Doctors welcome Dr. Lorenzo Cohen, the Director of Integrative Medicine at MD Anderson Cancer Center and hypnotherapist Rosalinda Engle to discuss if hypnosedation could be the answer to safer healthcare.

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Dr. Cohen explains that general anesthesia can weaken the body, decrease the body's immune functions, and slow recovery. He notes that in surgeries related to cancer that the body's immune system needs to be as strong as possible.

Rosalinda explains that she meets with patients prior to their surgery to determine how suggestible they are and takes them through a series of assessments. She says that two-thirds of the population is "highly suggestible" and able to enter a deep state of calm and ease, which can be used while in the operating room.

If a patient's pain is not effectively controlled to during their procedure, Rosalinda tells The Doctors the backup plan involves "deep absorption" where the patient focuses on something or someone who which they enjoy and are familiar with. She says this type of imagery and visualization help to ease them during surgery.

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Additionally, Dr. Cohen explains that local anesthesia, like lidocaine, is used in the area of the body where the surgery is occurring to numb pain.

The Doctors also welcome Kelly, who opted for hypnosis over anesthesia for her breast surgery. She says during a previous surgery with anesthesia, she has nausea, chills and felt sick. While hypnotized, she says she felt as though she was in a relaxed state but was aware of what as going on in the room. Rosalina was with her during the surgery and guided her the entire time. She tells us when she felt any discomfort or pain she was able to communicate that to her surgeons. She says she would use this again for surgery.

Clinical psychologist Dr. Judy Ho explains that most people liken hypnosis to something like daydreaming and says it can be used to treat things like anxiety and to possibly change behaviors like smoking and losing weight.