Hypnosedation: New Medical Procedure for Patients Undergoing Brain Surgery

A study published this month in the journal of “Neurosurgery”, suggests that a new procedure called hypnosedation, could change the face of brain surgery. In the past, patients undergoing brain surgery or craniotomy had to receive standard anaesthesia which would put them to sleep. But with this new method, patients are able to stay awake, allowing doctors to communicate with their patients, a critical advantage.

In the study, which took place in France between 2011 and 2015, 37 patients underwent 43 surgeries. Hypnosis failed in six cases, and another two patients opted out of using hypnosis. This means that hypnosis was successful in 31 cases, which is extremely encouraging.

Patients were taught hypnosis techniques prior to the day of surgery, and then encouraged to use the techniques during the operation. Patients were taught how to create a safe place for themselves and how to do visualisations. These methods helped reduce pain and helped patients to feel more in control of what was happening to them. In addition, doctors were better able to safely navigate around the “eloquent cortex”, the part of the brain responsible for language and movement.

These results are highly exciting for the field of brain surgery; also for other types of surgery where it would be beneficial for patients to stay awake. Not only does staying conscious allow for communication between doctor and patient, but it also reduces the amount of psychological trauma associated with surgery.

Whilst this is only one study, and more research is needed to determine the applicability of this technique to other procedures, it still provides a new sense of hope for the millions of patients undergoing invasive surgeries every year.