After one hypnosis session before a lumpectomy or breast biopsy, patients require 22% less analgesia and 34% less sedation; and report 53% less pain intensity, 74% less nausea, 46% less fatigue, 47% less discomfort, and 74% less emotional upset

Researchers from New York’s Mount Sinai School of Medicine randomly assigned 200 women scheduled for a breast biopsy or lumpectomy to a brief pre-surgical session of either supportive therapy or hypnosis. The hypnotic procedure included guided relaxation, the use of imagery, and symptom-focused suggestions. All the women were treated with anesthesia and pain medications during the procedures and given painkillers as needed afterward.

The study found that during surgery, the hypnotized women required 22% less analgesia and 34% less sedation. After surgery, they reported 53% less pain intensity, 74% less nausea, 46% less fatigue, 47% less discomfort, and 74% less emotional upset. They also spent 11 fewer minutes in surgery, resulting in a cost savings of almost $800 per patient.

The authors conclude that a brief, one-session hypnosis intervention appears to be one of the rare clinical interventions that can simultaneously reduce both symptom burden and costs.

Citation: Montgomery GH, Bovbjerg DH, Schnur JB, David D, Goldfarb A, Weltz CR, Schechter C, Graff-Zivin J, Tatrow K, Price DD, Silverstein JH. A randomized clinical trial of a brief hypnosis intervention to control side effects in breast surgery patients. Journal of the National Cancer Institute. 2007 Sep 5;99 (17): pages 1304-12. Epub 2007 Aug 28. [email protected]