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Sunday, March 26, 2017

Surgery With Eyes And Ears Wid Open

Jan Hoffman's column, "Going Under the Knife, With Eyes and Ears Wide Open" (New York Times 25 March2017), discusses a growing trend. More and more patients prefer to avoid general anesthesia in favor of local anesthesia. This option saves time, considerable hospital costs, and (of course) the expense of another specialist.

Hypnosis has been used in lieu of anesthesia for over 170 years, beginning with the exploits of Dr. James Esdaile, a British surgeon working in India. Reuben Pecarve, a hypno-anesthetist still active in Montreal, has "talked" a  large number of clients through such procedures as intestinal surgery and tooth extraction. I have also seen videos of C-section childbirths performed under hypnosis.

My own experience is far more limited. However, I can report that I went through my last colonoscopy without any sedation, drank down the glass of orange juice I was offered afterward, got in my car, and drove home. 

The important point here should be the obvious. Hypnosis can help people feel more relaxed and less anxious about a forthcoming event or procedure. I would therefore suggest that anyone planning to "stay awake" during surgery -- even with local anesthesia -- will probably benefit from a session with a hypnotist!

The complete article can be accessed here: