Research: Surgery Preparation

Clinical Hypnosis and Surgery By Steven Gurgevich, PhD

From The Clinician's Evidence-Based Guide to Complementary Therapies


The public’s well-recognized interest in using alterative and complementary therapies that can be safe, effective adjuncts to conventional care also extends into the  operating suite. Prior to the availability of chemical anesthesia, hypnosis was the  standard form of anesthesia. It has been shown repeatedly that hypnosis is a benign and effective adjunct for the surgical patient. 
Results of experimental studies have demonstrated that hypnosis is beneficial in reducing anxiety, lowering pain perception, lessening postoperative nausea and vomiting, reducing blood loss, achieving greater hemodynamic control, accelerating wound healing, lowering complication rates, shortening hospital stays, creating greater compliance with postoperative treatment, and enhancing both patient and clinician satisfaction. 

A study conducted to describe the Blue Shield of California's Presurgical Guided Imagery (hypnosis) Program found that "patients who used the guided imagery intervention reported significantly reduced anxiety and high levels of satisfaction. A trend toward shorter hospital stays as well as reduced pharmaceutical costs"

"Although medical hypnosis has a long history of myriad functional applications (pain reduction, procedural preparation etc.), it has been little tested for site-specific effects on physical healing per se. In this randomized controlled trial, we compared the relative efficacy of an adjunctive hypnotic intervention on early post-surgical wound healing.
... Analysis of variance showed the hypnosis group's objectively observed wound healing to be significantly greater than the other two groups'  "



This news segment on Medical Hypnosis was featured on the ABC evening news.