Hypnosis used in groundbreaking op in Padua

Method used on allergic patient dates back to 19th century

Hypnosis used in groundbreaking op in Padua

(By Elisa Cecchi). Padua, August 21 - A woman in Padua had surgery to remove a skin tumor by hypnosis instead of anesthesia in a groundbreaking anesthesiological method which updates 19th century techniques used for minor pathologies, a medical journal said Wednesday. The finding will reportedly enable other tumor patients who have had allergic reactions to anesthetic agents or are considered at risk of an anaphylactic shock to go under the knife by hypnosis The patient in Padua is reportedly allergic to a number of chemicals and had a previous anaphylactic shock under local anesthesia. Her case is described by Enrico Facco, an anesthesiologist and professor at the neuroscience department of the University of Padua, in the September issue of medical journal Anaesthesia. "The patient, a 42-year-old woman, had several allergies to chemical substances and previous anaphylactic reactions to local anesthesia," Facco said. "She had a skin tumor removed from her right thigh with hypnosis alone as a form of anesthesia. "The hypnosis was induced by making her close her eyes while at the same time giving verbal suggestions to achieve a relaxed state and sense of well being", the anesthesiologist said. The hypnosis was continued by "immersing the patient in the image of a pleasant landscape, a tropical beach, and by creating an hypnotic analgesia focused on the location where surgery was taking place according to hypnosis protocols already used for orthodontic sedation". The operation reportedly lasted 20 minutes during which the patient's blood pressure and heart rate remained stable. She did not feel any pain as the tumor was removed with an incision of 6x3 cm, Facco said. After being replaced by pharmacological anesthesia, hypnosis could now be used again in specific cases to control anxiety and raise the threshold of pain, the doctor noted, adding that hypnosis can be used alone or together with medication for a more effective treatment. "This case confirms that hypnosis is effective as the only anesthetic method in selected cases by preserving the patient from pain and surgical stress on the same level as commonly used anesthetics", said Facco, citing James Esdaile's 1846 work 'Mesmerism in India and its practical applications in surgery and medicine' which described over 300 cases of patients who had surgery by hypnosis.

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