Hypnosis may provide new option for 'awake surgery' for brain cancer

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January 7, 2016

Dr. Zemmoura of Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Tours, France and colleagues have evaluated a hypnosis technique in 37 patients who were undergoing awake brain surgery (or craniotomy), mainly for low-grade gliomas. Data was collected from 43 surgeries conducted between 2011-2015. 

In awake craniotomy, the patient is sedated but conscious in order to communicate with the operating team during the procedure. 

Dr. Zemmoura and colleagues note that hypnosedation is not necessarily superior to standard anesthesia, and that it requires intense involvement and long training of the whole team, including the patient. Instead, it allows the patient to remain awake throughout surgery, which could be crucial in reducing psychological trauma for higher-grade brain cancer patients. According to authors, preparing patients for hypnosis began weeks before surgery, where the anesthesiologist/hypnotist met with the patient to carry out a short hypnosis session to teach the patient how to create a “safe place” where they can feel safe and effective during an awake craniotomy in the operating room. 

To read more about the study, click here.